First of all, if you are moving to a new service provider but do not need to keep your existing phone number, then there isn’t much to it—you cancel your old service, and start up with your new one.
Although keeping your number when switching providers is not complicated, there are a couple of extra steps to complete the process seamlessly. This post assumes that you are keeping your existing number when you switch to a new provider.
If it’s your only number with them, the losing carrier will cancel your service.
Many people do not consider this fact when making the phone service switch. If you only have one phone number with your current provider, and you are taking that number with you to the new provider, then your account with the previous provider is going to be cancelled as soon as you transfer your number out.
Unless you have a special arrangement with them, this usually happens automatically because if there is no phone number on the account, then the account has no reason to exist.
Your phone number’s current features will be cleared.
It’s important to understand that your service provider attaches features to your phone number, and these features do not follow the number automatically. This means that if you are taking your number to a new provider, the features that you had, such as call forwarding or text messaging, are cleared when you port out your number.
To retain those features, you must make sure that your new provider can also offer the same features.
Your phone will go dead, unless it gets a new number.
Consider the following scenario: You have a cell phone with Verizon Wireless, and that cell phone has a number that you need to keep. You realize that Verizon isn’t cutting it for your business anymore, so you decide to switch to a virtual provider like Talkroute and take your existing number with you.
Understand that when you port your number to Talkroute, you are removing the number from that Verizon cell phone; so, that device will go dead because it no longer has a phone number. The thing to remember is that your current phone does not automatically carry over to whatever service provider you’re switching to.
It will take at least a few days to transfer.
When taking your number to a new provider, the process is not instantaneous. Due to a number of technical and legal factors, the porting of an existing phone number to a new carrier takes at least a few days, except in very rare cases.
The infrastructure that supports porting a phone number has not been updated in a long time, which means that it doesn’t happen as quickly as it might. There is a verification process to prove to your new provider that you own the number, then your old provider, the “losing carrier”, has to approve the release of your number—and then they have to process the transfer, which takes a varying amount of time depending on who the losing carrier is.
The point is that you have to allow for anywhere from one to four weeks for the port to complete.
Periodically changing phone service providers is a necessary evil of our times, due to the constantly changing network infrastructure, competition between providers for domination of the market, and the evolving needs of consumers and businesses.
When you find yourself in the midst of the transfer, you can minimize stress and confusion by preparing yourself beforehand and understanding what the switch entails. If you are thinking of taking your existing business phone number with you to Talkroute, you can find more information on what to expect in this post:
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.