Number porting, or the transfer of an existing number from one service to another, is part of the onboarding process when you sign up for a new provider or carrier. However, it doesn’t just happen automatically. This is why you need to make sure you talk to the onboarding team to let them know of your interest and ask about any additional fees.
Each provider will have its own specific process for porting an existing number, but no matter which service you use, expect to do the following during the setup process:
1. Gather Details From Your Old Provider
Before you can port your number, you will need to get all the necessary information pertaining to your old number. In most cases, you will need the primary account holder’s name and account number. You may also be asked to provide copies of a recent phone bill. This helps the new provider verify your identification so that numbers are not ported for nefarious purposes.
Lastly, if you have the login information for your old service, that could also be useful in case you need to apply any permissions to access your old account. If you don’t have this information, call your old phone company’s customer service line to get those details.
2. Contact Your New Carrier
Next you will need to contact your new carrier and let them know you would like to port an existing number. How you do this will depend on the service provider. For example, service provider Ooma gives you a way to start the process online from within their system settings menu. However, as simple as online portals are to use, we recommend calling your service provider for guided assistance, as you can risk losing your number if this step is not done correctly.
Some services, like Nextiva, will ask you to provide a completed Letter of Agency (LOA) before they will move forward with a number porting request. This is a document used in the telecommunications industry that allows the person signing the phone service agreement to act on their employer’s behalf, so it is also a good idea to have this document signed and ready before contacting them about porting your number.
Pro tip: Number porting requests can take several days to process. For example, it takes RingCentral, one of the best business phone systems on the market, approximately five business days to port a wireless number and between seven and 15 days to port from another carrier. This is why it is best to start the porting process with your new carrier well before you cancel your account with the previous service.
3. Follow the Representative’s Instructions
When you speak with the representative, you’ll want to be at your machine and logged in to your new phone service. If the rep can’t do the entire process on their end, they should be at least able to walk you through the process on your computer. The process to initiate number porting should take no longer than a few minutes.
4. Wait for Confirmation
Once a number porting request has been initiated, it will be up to the new provider to work out a final porting date with the old carrier. The good news is your service will still work during this time. The bad news is you will need to work with your existing carrier a little while longer and pay any cancellation charges. Your new provider should provide you with an update when the number has been successfully transferred.
5. Test Your Number Porting
When the process is complete, you will want to make sure that the porting process actually took hold. The test is going to be quite simple: just dial the number you’ve ported. If it activates your new phone system, this will tell you whether the port was successful or not. If it doesn’t work, give it some time, if needed, or just call the customer service line again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does porting your number mean?
Number porting and porting your number mean the same thing—they’re both terms used to describe the process of transferring a phone number from one service provider to another.
How long does number porting take?
Number porting can take weeks or months. How long your porting process will take mainly depends on your existing provider and your new provider. Check with your new provider for porting time estimates.
Why can’t I port my number?
Some phone numbers aren’t portable. Your new provider might not have coverage in your area, or you may have canceled your existing number prematurely. Ensure you maintain your current provider until the phone number porting process is complete.
How do I check the number porting status?
Most service providers will give you ongoing updates on your number porting status. If you’re unaware of the current status, try contacting the onboarding team or service representative to get an update.
What is local number porting?
Local number portability (LNP) is the process of taking a local phone number from one service provider to another. Wireless local number portability (WLNP) is the same process, but it’s transferring a wireless number rather than a landline number.
Can a carrier refuse to port your number?
No. Number porting is required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However, your carrier may “reject” your port request if you’ve submitted false information or made a mistake in the process. These temporary setbacks can significantly delay the porting timeline.
Number porting can take time—and for good reason. There’s a healthy amount of checks and balances that need to take place between your existing provider and your new provider to prevent fraud and number stealing.
Porting your number to a new system is a significant undertaking. If you don’t adequately prepare, you run the risk of wasting hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on software that goes unused. As such, it’s essential to take the time to understand how number porting works and what you can expect.