How to Port an Existing Number to VoIP in 6 Easy Steps
This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
To ensure a successful phone number porting process, gather all your account information from your old carrier. Your new voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) provider will need these details to verify your account. Make sure to follow the provider’s instructions and wait until the process is complete. After porting, test your phone number and cancel your old service. In this article, we dive into a detailed discussion about how to port an existing number to VoIP.
If you’re looking for a full-featured VoIP provider offering free number porting, check out RingCentral. It ports most toll-free, wireless, landline phone numbers in the U.S. and allows the transfer of more than 100 numbers from the same carrier. All you need is your personal identification number (PIN) and account number, and the cost of transferring your number from an existing carrier is shouldered by RingCentral.
1. Gather Account Details From Your Old Carrier
Having the required documents and information on hand makes the porting phone number process smoother and prevents delays. These details allow your new phone service to verify that you own the number you want to port. If you’re unsure or don’t have these details, contact the customer service of your previous carrier to get them.
These are the information and documents needed to port a number:
- The account number for your current phone service
- The phone number to port
- Your PIN or passcode
- The mailing and/or physical address listed for your existing number
- The name of the primary account holder
- A copy of your most recent bill
- Online login information for your business phone services
In this stage, it’s important to keep your old phone system in service. Canceling your service before the porting process begins could cause you to risk losing your number.
2. Submit the Details to Your New Provider
With your information and documents in hand, it’s time to contact your new provider. In most cases, number porting begins by purchasing a plan and creating an account with the new provider. Along with providing the necessary information, you may be required to sign a letter of agency (LOA).
They will tell you how to port a number to their company and verify that your current number is transferable. This is also a good time to ask about any fees for porting a number. Business phone systems like RingCentral and Nextiva will transfer the number you want to port at no cost to your business. However, Google Voice charges a $20 fee to port a mobile phone number from major carriers like AT&T and Verizon.
The number porting process varies by provider, but many services require you to call a customer service number to start the transfer. Although some companies, like Ooma, let you submit a request through the Ooma Office Manager, we still recommend talking to a live agent to avoid errors that could delay the process.
3. Follow the New Provider’s Instructions
Although your new carrier may be able to complete the number porting process on their end, they may still need your assistance. Log into your new business phone service to access your administrative portal. A representative of your new provider will work with you to initiate the transfer process, which should only take a few minutes.
4. Wait Until Porting Is Complete
After requesting to port a number, it may take anywhere from two to 30 days to complete the process. Your new carrier will provide a time frame based on the type of number being ported and the carrier involved.
For example, RingCentral says porting toll-free numbers takes up to two business days, whereas transferring landline numbers from major carriers may take up to a week. The process varies because your new provider works with your old carrier to determine the end date.
During this time, you may receive a letter from your old carrier, called a 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. However, many providers give updates via email or the administrative portal, so make sure to check them to know if the process is complete.
In the meantime, your new carrier will provide a temporary number to use the new service while porting your business phone number. Take advantage of this time to set up the VoIP system’s features by configuring user settings and downloading the mobile or desktop app. Most providers include instructions for setup and installation.
5. Test Your Newly Ported Number
Once you receive confirmation that the number porting is complete, it’s time to test your new service. Grab any external phone and dial your business number. If the call rings through to your office desk phone or another device connected to your new service, the port is successful. If the call doesn’t go through, contact your new carrier’s customer support line.
6. Cancel Old Service & Pay Off Any Debts
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), your current provider should allow you to port your number even if you have an outstanding balance. However, they can refuse to cancel your service until your account is fully paid.
Before canceling, don’t forget to download any reports or files you want from your old account. Once your account is fully paid, and you’ve downloaded everything you want from your account, you may now request the cancellation of your old service.
Common Porting Phone Number Issues
While learning how to port an existing number to VoIP is a pretty straightforward process, you may likely come across some issues. Here are common factors that might hinder the number porting process and how to resolve them:
Your porting request may be rejected if the account information you provide to your new provider doesn’t match what your current carrier has on record. The best thing to do is to double-check every piece of information you provide is stated correctly.
Some providers may deactivate or lock your account if you haven’t used it for an extended period. If this happens, contact your provider to discuss your account status. You might have to take extra steps to get your number ported.
A number will take a long time to port if it’s connected to multiple lines or advanced call control features, such as call group and call forwarding. Make sure there are no additional features attached to your number.
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 specific region.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the benefits of number porting?
Number porting allows your business to switch to a new phone service without the need to inform your customers about the change since your phone number remains the same. This allows you to protect your company’s brand image and eliminate unnecessary spending on updating your marketing materials.
What is local number porting?
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).
Can all phone numbers be ported?
In most cases, any U.S.-based landline, toll-free, or wireless phone number can be ported. There are certain cases where you may not be able to transfer a number. Some services in rural areas get a waiver from the FCC, exempting them from porting numbers. If number porting is not possible, many VoIP providers include a free business phone number when you sign up for their services.
Understanding how to port an existing number to VoIP ensures a smoother transfer and reduces the chances of facing some unexpected issues discussed above. 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 ask the provider involved questions to get the support you need.