A successful number porting process requires sending all your account information from the previous carrier to your new voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) provider. Follow the provider’s instructions and wait until the process is complete before canceling your previous phone service. In this article, we go over the process of how to port an existing number to VoIP and its potential roadblocks.
RingCentral is our top-ranking VoIP phone system with free number porting. It ports most toll-free, wireless, and landline phone numbers in the U.S. and allows the transfer of over 100 numbers from the same carrier. All you need is your personal identification number (PIN) and account number.
1. Gather Account Details From Your Old Carrier
A hassle-free way to get a number to port is to have the required documents and information on hand. This allows your new VoIP provider to verify your account and comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rules. If you need help, contact your old carrier’s support hotline to get the information you need.
Here are the requirements for VoIP number porting:
Once you’ve decided to port your number to a new carrier, it’s important to keep your old number in service until the porting is complete. Canceling your service before the porting process begins could cause you to risk losing your number.
2. Submit the Details to Your New Provider
The porting process usually begins by purchasing a subscription plan with the new VoIP provider. Once you create an account, submit a porting request with the requested information and documents. The VoIP provider will then let you know if your current number is transferable and the associated costs.
RingCentral and Nextiva will transfer any number free of charge, while others have a one-time fee. For example, Google Voice charges $20 to port a mobile phone number to VoIP from major carriers like AT&T and Verizon.
Note: For long-term customers, some service providers may charge an early termination fee, depending on the contract terms.
3. Follow the New Provider’s Instructions
Your new carrier will be able to complete the number porting process on their end, but they may still need your assistance. Log into your new phone service to access your administrative portal. A representative of your new provider will work with you to begin the transfer process, which should only take a few minutes.
There are cases when a phone number is locked to the hardware. If you prefer to use the same device, ask your current carrier to unlock your device before porting a cell phone number.
4. Wait Until Porting Is Complete
The porting process will take anywhere from two to 30 days. The time frame varies depending on the type of number being ported and the carrier involved. With RingCentral, porting toll-free numbers takes up to two business days, whereas transferring landline numbers from major carriers may take up to a week.
During this time, you may receive a letter from your old carrier called “firm order confirmation” (FOC), stating the date they will transfer the number. Your new carrier will update you when the number has been transferred to your account via email or the admin portal.
In the meantime, your new carrier will provide a temporary number to use their phone service as you wait for the porting of your business phone number. Use this time to set up your VoIP system by configuring the phone settings.
5. Test Your Newly Ported Number
After confirming that the port is completed successfully, it’s time to test your phone number with the new service. Grab any external phone and dial your business number. If the call rings through to your desk phone or another device connected to your new service, the port is successful. Otherwise, contact your new carrier’s customer support line for assistance.
6. Cancel Old Service & Pay Off Any Debts
According to the FCC, your current provider should allow you to port your number even if you owe an outstanding balance. However, they may refuse to cancel your service until your account is fully paid.
Before canceling, download all the files you left from your old account. Once you’re fully paid, and you’ve downloaded everything you need, you may now request the cancellation of your old service.
Common Porting Phone Number Issues
Learning how to port an existing number to VoIP is a pretty straightforward process, but roadblocks can happen at any time. Here are common reasons that can delay the number porting process and how to solve them:
- Incorrect information: A porting request can be rejected if the account information you provide to your new provider doesn’t match what your current carrier has on record. To avoid this, double-check that every piece of information you provide is stated correctly.
- Inactive or locked account: Some providers may deactivate or lock your account if you haven’t used it for a while. If this happens, contact your provider to discuss your account status. You might have to take extra steps to get your number ported.
- Complex porting: A number will take a long time to port if it’s connected to multiple lines or call features like call group and call forwarding. Make sure there are no additional features attached to your number.
- Unauthorized contact: Number porting should only be requested by the primary account holder. To avoid delay, ask the account holder to sign the LOA or contact your current provider to update the records.
- Geographical limitations: You cannot keep the same number if you are moving to another geographic location with a different area code. In this case, the new provider will require you to select a new number. Location issues also occur if the new provider doesn’t offer coverage in that region.
If number porting is not possible, many VoIP providers include a free business phone number when you sign up for their services.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Number porting allows businesses to switch to a new phone service without informing customers about the change since their phone number remains the same. It protects the company’s brand image and avoids unnecessary costs of updating marketing materials.
Local number portability (LNP), also known as local number porting, transfers a local phone number from one telecommunications carrier to another. However, if you port a wireless number to a new provider, it’s called wireless local number portability (WLNP), while porting phone numbers that are toll-free is referred to as toll-free number porting (TFNP).
In most cases, any U.S.-based landline, toll-free, or wireless phone number can be ported. However, there are certain limitations, such as a non-active phone number and geographic restrictions. Some services in rural areas get a waiver from the FCC, exempting them from porting numbers.
Understanding how number porting works ensures a smoother transfer and reduces the chances of facing unexpected issues. To prevent fraud and stolen phone numbers, VoIP providers take significant steps to verify all transfer requests. If you encounter any difficulties, make sure to contact the number porting service to get the support you need.