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Changing Phone Providers? Here is How to Keep Your Existing Number

Just because you have switched providers doesn't mean you can't take your phone number with you. In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of porting your phone number.

6 min read

Tatiana Ogurtsovskaia

Tatiana Ogurtsovskaia

Jun 15, 2021

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Changing Phone Providers? Here is How to Keep Your Existing Number

It’s not surprising that people may want to keep their old numbers. After all, your friends, family, and co-workers all have those numbers saved on their phones. You may have also given your number out to your kid’s school, the doctor’s surgery, and even your hairdresser. Let’s face it, who needs the hassle of updating numbers everywhere? This becomes even more complicated for businesses, as changing your business phone number can result in losing customers and ultimately losing revenue.

There are a number of reasons someone may want to change providers, such as an offer of a better deal, more flexibility, new hardware, or a stronger signal, however, due to the thought of losing their number, expensive fees, or suffering from downtime, people can often be hesitant to swap phone providers. The good news is that regardless of whether you have a wireless, landline, or VoIP number, when moving providers, you don’t have to change your number, and it is actually a quick and inexpensive process. Porting numbers allows businesses to switch providers and upgrade devices while keeping their existing numbers.

We will walk you through the process of number-porting and take the stress out of switching providers.

How to Switch Phone Carriers and Keep Your Number

Porting your number is the process of switching networks but choosing to keep the same number; this is done by transferring it to the new provider. Porting gives companies the freedom to upgrade their communication providers without the inconvenience of having to inform existing customers about the change or losing business because the phone number remains the same.

There are four different types of number porting:

  • Simple Porting

This is a single phone number without multiple lines or complex translations.

  • Standard Porting

This is a port with more than one but less than 100 phone numbers. Standard ports must all have the same address, carrier and be associated with a single billing phone number.

  • Complex Porting

A complex port will involve multiple billing phone numbers, addresses and maybe even be associated with different carriers.

  • Toll-Free Porting

A Toll-Free number can also be ported; however, this process does take a little longer than the simple and standard porting process, as it will require some additional paperwork.

Overall, porting your number is a simple process, and the good news is that your new provider does most of the work. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to take your number with you when you leave your existing network.

Do Not Cancel Your Existing Mobile Service

Rule number one is not to cancel your existing service before moving to a new provider. Once your current phone number has been canceled, it goes back into the pool of numbers accessible by the public, meaning it can no longer be ported.

Make Sure You Have Settled All Outstanding Fees

You should also make sure that there are no outstanding fees or issues with your current provider, as this can cause complications or delays in getting your new number up and running.

Choose Your New Provider

During the signup process with your new provider, you will need to specify that you wish to port or transfer your existing number over to your new account. To verify you are the owner of the number, you will need to have your account details such as the phone number, billing statement, and account number, and personal information such as your ID and proof of address. If it is a mobile phone, it is best to have the IMEI number of your device on hand.

That’s it! From here, your new provider will contact your old provider and begin the porting process. Once the service with your new provider begins, your old provider will automatically deactivate your account. However, just to be on the safe side, it is best to call up to confirm.

Frequently Asked Questions about Porting Your Mobile Phone Number

How Long Does Porting Take?

According to the US Federal Communication Commission (FFC), when porting a US phone number, porting rules state that a simple port with only one line and no equipment adjustments should be completed in one business day. For standard ports, they are more likely to take a week, and finally, for more complex transfers that need a transfer of equipment or require the porting of multiple numbers can take between a few days to a few weeks. Although porting timeframes are regulated by the FFC, the time frame will ultimately depend on your current provider, so it is always best to check with them.

Does it Cost Money to Port My Number?

Fees will depend on who your existing provider is, what your phone plan is, and whether, or not you are in agreement that will incur cancellation fees or other charges. The best way to find this out is to talk to your current landline, VoIP, or cell phone providers and read over your contract terms before you request a transfer to your new carrier. Depending on your situation, you may be able to negotiate the charges or get them to waive them.

Will I Get Service Interruptions During the Porting Process?

Providers work hard to make sure that the porting goes seamlessly and understand how important it is for there to be no downtime. Therefore, most VoIP providers will do their best to ensure that there are no service interruptions. However, there are exceptions to the rule, so it is always best to double-check with your provider when requesting the porting process.

Do All Providers Have to Port Numbers if Requested?

As long as you are remaining in the same geographical area and country in the US, you have the right to request a port between providers, and they must accept. However, if you are moving to a new location and there are different area codes or your provider doesn’t have a presence in that market, there are cases where you cannot keep your number.

Another situation where you may not be able to port your number is if your phone service providers are rural providers. Rural providers are exempt from FCC regulations and therefore do not have to port the numbers. The best way to know for sure if your number can be ported is to speak directly to your provider.

Conclusion

Porting your phone number is a surprisingly easy process, which is excellent news for people and businesses who are hoping to keep their number when switching to a better offer. Regardless, if you are switching to a wireless, wired service, or VoIP provider, the porting process can be quick, painless, and up and running in no time at all.

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