You would think that transferring your phone number to a new carrier would be instantaneous, but due to the nature of the telecom infrastructure, it does take a little time.
There are a few things that have to happen to move your number from one carrier to another (this is called a port), and the elapsed time may vary depending on how quickly your current provider processes the port.
On average, ports take 7-10 days to complete; however, they can take up to 4 weeks in rare cases. This is contingent on a few things, and for the remainder of this article, we will look into what can cause delays. It helps when you know a bit about to expect throughout the process.
Your new provider does not respond to your request right away.
The first thing that can delay the porting process is when your new provider does not respond to you in a timely manner to your request for the transfer.
If you do not receive a response from them within 24 hours with instructions to complete the transfer, be sure to contact your new provider immediately and ask them to start the process.
The port cannot be submitted until you send documentation for the number.
Once you have formally requested the transfer of your phone number to a new service provider, they will initiate the porting process. You will need to provide documentation, usually including a phone bill for the number you wish to port (or some document that proves the number is yours), as well as a signature document showing that you have authorized the transfer.
FCC guidelines are very strict regarding number ports, and your new provider will not even be able to submit the port request to the losing carrier, until you send the requested documentation.
Rejections cause delays, but they can usually be avoided.
There are times when something goes wrong and your current provider rejects the release of your number to a new provider.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to be sure that all of the information you give to your new provider, such as the service address, billing telephone number, and account holder’s name, is entirely accurate.
You can ensure that you have the correct information by contacting your current provider and requesting a CSR for the number (Customer Service Report).
If you’re looking for even more information, we have another post with all the reasons that a port can be rejected.
Complex ports can take longer to complete.
Most number ports are classified as “simple ports”, and if yours is a simple port, then the processing time will usually be minimal. When your number has extra features attached, such as forwarding, call groups, or special voicemail services, this may cause delays.
Contact your current provider to find out what you can do to expedite the transfer, and if features need to be removed before porting your number.
In general, porting your phone number to a new provider does not take very long. As a rule of thumb when you request a transfer, contact your current provider to find out exactly what they require to release your phone number; then, contact your new provider to find out what they need from you.
These are some of the reasons for potential delays; however, as long as you stay in communication with your new provider throughout the process, you can usually ensure a prompt transfer.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.