There are a few situations where it is not possible to keep your business phone number when going to a new provider. For example:
1. If the customer has already cancelled service with their old provider and therefore the number is no longer active or has been assigned to a new customer.
2. If the new carrier does not have an interconnection agreement with the donor carrier.
3. If the new carrier does not cover the rate center associated with your number.
So if you can’t port your phone number, what can you do?
1. Go Toll Free.
Most providers have a pool of phone numbers available for purchase and immediate use from an online administrative portal. In this case, you should notify existing customers and contacts of the change in phone number via email or other communication channels.
2. Remote Call Forwarding
RCF is a feature offered by V1 VoIP that allows a customer to maintain a phone number in a different geographical area than their physical location. In this case, you would purchase a local phone number with the new provider, and have the current provider use RCF to direct all calls made to the existing phone number to the new phone number. This is great if your phone number is highly visible and changing it would impact your business.
If you’ve wondered if you get to keep your phone number when switching providers, then what you are really asking about is porting. Porting, or more formally, Local Number Portability (LNP), is the process of transferring a phone number from one service provider to another. When switching to a new business phone service, if you want to keep your existing phone number you will need to take action to transfer your phone number(s) from one provider to the other. This is where the process, called ‘porting’, occurs.
Is porting a number legal? Oh yes it is! It is also heavily regulated as well. Number porting is actually mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and also included in the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The customer’s part of porting providing the details of a port and initiating a request with their provider. The provider’s part is working with other providers to complete the port request and updating the customer on the status of the port request.
If you’re planning on switching phone service providers, notify both parties early to understand what your business phone number porting options are. This reduces the likelihood of unexpected changes to your business operations, and gives you time to evaluate alternatives in case a port is not possible. There are a few instances in which a phone number cannot be ported to a new provider. To read more about that, please see our non porting number guide.