Different types of phones

Porting a Phone Number to a New Provider: An Introduction

So you’ve decided to transfer your business number to a new provider. Most likely, you’re apprehensive about a few things, and you’re certainly not the only one.

Anytime when it is very important that you don’t lose your current number—whether for professional or personal reasons—you are going to be concerned about the transfer.

Most of the apprehension concerning the porting of your number to another provider is due to a lack of knowledge, which is why we are providing this series on the process of porting a phone number.

To start, let’s go over the most common concerns about transferring a phone number to a new provider.

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There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to keep your number, and you just have to hope that your new provider lets you.

Let’s clear this up right now: You can absolutely keep your number, no matter who the provider is that you’re switching to—whether you have a wireless, landline, or VoIP number.

As stated in the FCC’s Local Number Portability rules, “You can switch telephone service providers for wireline, wireless, or Voice over Internet Protocol and keep your existing phone number if you remain in the same geographic area.”

The only time there is a chance you may not be able to keep a local number is if you are moving to a new geographic area, and as long as you’re not moving too far away, many times you will still be able to retain your current number.

The only restrictions on continuing service for a phone number when switching providers has to do with the footprint of the new provider; that is, just because a provider can’t port a number does not mean that a different provider won’t be able to port the number.

Before you give up and accept the fact that you’re losing your number, be sure to check out some other providers because one of them may be able to complete the port.

Will it take a really long time to complete?

In their number porting rules, the FCC also requires “‘simple’ ports to be processed in one business day”. Most ports are classified as “simple” ports, but if it involves “more than one line or more complex adjustments to telephone switching equipment,” then this 1-day rule may not apply.

Either way, this 1-day rule is misleading because the rule refers to the response time of your losing carrier, and not completion time. It takes a little bit longer for the transfer to finally complete.

Once your old provider responds to your port request, then account information must be verified and you must prove that you have authority to port the number, which we are going to cover later in this series. All said and done, ports usually only take a few days, and 3-4 weeks, at most.

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Is the process going to stress me out?

Normally, the transfer goes off without a hitch, and you’ll be enjoying all the benefits of your new provider that you switched for in the first place; however, complications can definitely occur, most of which you can avoid by giving your new provider accurate and sufficient information.

The majority of ports are rejected simply because the porting customer provides account information that does not match what is on their phone bill.

Ports may be rejected for a variety of reasons that can definitely make the process stressful, but the majority of ports are rejected simply because the porting customer provides account information that does not match what is on their phone bill.


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.

StephaniePorting a Phone Number to a New Provider: An Introduction