Porting a Phone Number All You Need to Know

Moving to a new phone service provider doesn’t have to mean losing a favourite number. Phone number porting is an industry-standard process that allows customers to take an existing number with them to a new service. In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about porting phone numbers. 

What Is Number Porting?

Porting a phone number is a simple process that allows customers to continue using their existing phone number after they switch providers. It generally takes between seven and 10 days to port a number and there should be no downtime while the switch takes place.

Why Would I Want to Port a Phone Number?

Many people keep the same number for years and this is especially true for businesses. If you’ve spent years building a loyal customer base who are familiar with your business phone number, you won’t want to create confusion by suddenly switching numbers. If the number is part of your marketing materials, it will be time-consuming and costly to edit it everywhere. There is also likely to be a period where two numbers appear, one of which may no longer be operational. This could lead to missed calls and lost business. A phone number is an important element of business branding and porting allows companies to maintain a consistent brand message and high levels of customer service. 

Number porting allows consumers to use a service provider that meets their business needs and their budget. If porting were not an option, many people would be trapped using the same provider indefinitely because of the potential damage that switching numbers could do to their business. Porting supports fair competition between providers and promotes consumer choice. If the needs of your business change, you are free to switch to a new provider that offers a different or more affordable service, without losing the business number your customers are familiar with. 

How Does Phone Number Porting Work?

If you choose to keep an existing number when switching providers, the process should be relatively straightforward as your new provider will do all the work for you. Your most important job is to provide the correct information. Make sure the address, payment information and account details you provide match those on your current phone bill.  Once account information has been verified, you’ll be asked to authorise the porting process. 

Some numbers can be ported within a day, other processes, such as porting international numbers, may require a little more patience. 

When the porting process is complete, the original number terminates — along with all services associated with it, such as broadband.

Troubleshooting Phone Number Porting

Some consumers find porting a frustrating process, but any delays or complications are often due to avoidable errors. 

  • Conflicting information provided. If an address or postcode provided does not match the details held on record by the current network operator, porting may be rejected or delayed.
  • Incorrect billing information entered. A new service provider will not complete the porting process if there is any suggestion that there will be an issue with collecting payment. 
  • The number has previously been ported. Occasionally, if a number has previously been ported, problems can arise. 
  • No porting agreement between providers. Porting can only occur between providers with a service agreement.

If you live in the UK and your current provider is unfairly sabotaging the porting process, you can submit a complaint to Ofcom’s website, which may result in the new provider being authorised to override the issue and proceed with number porting. 

There may be many reasons that a consumer or business owner wishes to retain an existing number. Porting allows you to choose the best service for your requirements and budget. It is generally a simple process that takes little more than a week to complete, although you’ll need to allow longer for international numbers. Most delays are due to errors or inconsistencies in the information provided by the consumer. Be sure to enter the same details used during the initial account set up and there should be no downtime or frustrations.

Switch to City Numbers for a cost-effective, feature-rich solution with excellent customer support. Contact us using our online form or call us if you have any questions about porting a phone number.

About audreyoh

She currently drives web CRO for j2 Global's Cloud Connect services, focusing on eCommerce, SaaS, and developing UX optimized content for both B2B and B2C users on all channels. She is a published freelance writer, independent filmmaker, and artist.
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