Phone number ports usually go pretty smoothly, letting your number seamlessly transfer to the new carrier without issue. There can be complications sometimes, though, and one of those complications is when your old carrier just will not release the number to your new carrier. In most cases this can be remedied with a little support from your new service provider, but if the old provider persistently refuses to release your number, this is what you can do.
Contact the porting agent at your new provider.
This may or may not apply to you, as it depends on who your new provider is and whether or not they have a porting department to provide direct support throughout the porting process. If you are porting a number into Talkroute, an agent will be there to assist you with any issue that may arise, as well as provide updates on the status of your port.
If you are porting your number to a different provider, you may not be so lucky because many service providers now completely automate the process. At any rate, you will need to contact your new carrier so that they can help you to complete the transfer.
First, make sure everything on the order is correct.
9 times out of 10, when a port request is rejected by the losing carrier, it is due to missing or incorrect information on the port order. When you contact your new provider, make sure you find out exactly what was the reason given for the rejection; this is the first step to resolving the issue.
The problem is that it can be difficult to get a clear answer, and if your contact at the new provider does not know precisely why it was rejected, then you’ll need to go back to the old provider and find out exactly what you need to do to make sure the port goes through successfully.
Common reasons that ports are rejected:
Was Your Number Port Rejected? Here Are 8 Reasons Why.
Speak to the old service provider.
This is where things can get tricky. Hopefully, you get right through to someone at your old provider who knows what’s going on, they tell you exactly why the port was rejected, and then you can fix it and have your new provider resubmit the port.
What’s difficult is that you may have trouble finding someone who does know what’s going on. Your best bet is, when you call them, ask to be connected with someone in their porting department, or whoever handles port-outs.
They are bound by law to release your number.
If the old provider is being especially difficult or vague (which does happen), then you can remind them that they are required by law to release your number to a new carrier.
The FCC clearly states: “Commission rules require carriers to port a number when they receive a valid request, and carriers may not refuse to port.” Even if you have an outstanding balance with the old provider, the FCC also notes that they cannot refuse to port due to an outstanding balance.
Find the link at the end of this post for FCC rules on porting.
Contact the carrier directly.
An important point to understand is the difference between phone service providers and carriers. Some service providers, such as Google Voice, AT&T, or Verizon, have their own dedicated carrier; however, there are now a great variety of service providers who use an outside carrier’s network that actually “carries” their phone numbers.
If you cannot figure out what the problem is with your port by talking to your service provider, then ask them who the carrier is and contact them directly to find out what is the reason for rejection. The carrier is the entity that is actually rejecting or approving the port, not the service provider; they just relay the information to you from the carrier.
Escalate to a supervisor if necessary.
Lastly, and possibly the most useful point—if you are not getting anywhere with your contact at your old provider, ask them to connect you with a supervisor, and try to get someone as high up in the company as you can. It can’t hurt; the more clout they have, the more likely they’ll be able to get the issue resolved quickly.
More information on FCC rules for number porting:
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.