What is phone number porting?
Phone number porting is the process of transferring a phone number from one provider to a different provider. This is most often done when switching providers due to a number of reasons.
Some people don’t know they have the right to keep their phone numbers as they switch providers. This applies to personal and business cell phone numbers, virtual phone numbers, or even a landline.
This guide covers the most frequently asked questions about the phone number porting process.
Why port your phone number?
There are many reasons you might want to port your phone number to another service:
- Switch to a more affordable mobile carrier without losing your number
- Port your mobile number to a virtual phone service so you can keep it when moving abroad
- Ditch your landline while keeping your phone number
If you’re switching your business phone number:
- Switch to a more suitable business phone service while keeping your phone numbers
- Ditch carrying two cell phones and port one of those phone numbers to a virtual phone service
- Support call forwarding for multiple phone numbers
- Port your landline to a VoIP phone service so you can send text messages
Is my phone number portable?
In the majority of cases, you should be able to port your phone number to another service. If the phone number is under your name, you should be able to start the process yourself. If it’s under a company account, ask your company’s IT team for help.
Sometimes, a provider is unable to port a number if they don’t serve the geographic area the number belongs to. They do not have the infrastructure built out to serve those phone numbers. For example, many providers don’t have coverage in Alaska and wouldn’t be able to port a local 907 number.
How does phone number porting work?
Phone number porting is mostly a simple process. Here’s how the porting process works:
1. Let your current provider know that you’ll be porting out
You can contact your provider’s support team to let them know you’re switching providers. The provider doesn’t have to do anything at this time.
2. Send the following information to your new provider
For legal reasons, your new provider needs the following information:
- Phone bill, account number, or latest invoice
- It should include the number you’re porting, your name, and billing address.
- If you have a PIN set on your account, include it. An account PIN is generally associated with local US numbers and can often be found in the account dashboard with your current carrier. Unsure whether you have a PIN? Contact your current carrier.
- You’ll need to sign a Letter of Authorization granting permission to the new carrier to do the port.
Other information that your new provider will need includes:
- Number of phone numbers you want to port
- Type of number
- Whether your number is local US, local Canada, or toll-free/1-800
- Is your number currently mobile, landline, or VoIP?
- Current provider
Is the account under your personal name or the business name?
3. Your new carrier will notify you about the port date.
When the port is complete, you cancel your service with your original provider.
Note: Canceling service with your old provider before your number has been ported successfully can cause issues, so we recommend waiting until your port is complete.
How to port your phone number to OpenPhone
Tired of your business’s current phone system? OpenPhone is the modern business phone system. It works on top of your existing devices via mobile, web, and desktop apps. You can get set up with a new phone number in seconds or port your existing phone numbers within a few days.
OpenPhone has many features that modern businesses need including:
- Slack, Zapier, HubSpot, and email integrations
- Local and toll-free US and Canadian numbers
- Calling and messaging (SMS & MMS)
- Ability to share responsibility for a phone number, like an inbox
- Auto-attendant and call routing
- Call recording
- And much more
To port your existing number to OpenPhone, sign up for an OpenPhone account. Get a temporary new phone number and try the service. Then, when you’re ready, you can submit your port request straight from the web or desktop OpenPhone app.
While your porting request is underway, you can add business hours, a voicemail greeting, and other customizations to your phone. That way, you’re ready to go once your number is ported over.
Phone Porting FAQs
After porting hundreds of numbers to OpenPhone, we’ve come across many questions about the porting process and how it works. Here are some of the common questions about phone number porting:
Most companies don’t have porting fees. This applies both to porting numbers in and out. Some companies may have porting fees and early termination fees. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mentions that you can ask your current carrier to waive porting fees.
How long it takes to port a number depends on the type of port.
– Simple ports among wireless service providers take 1 business day or less. For example, if you’re porting 1 phone number and don’t need to switch equipment.
– Ports from wireline (landline) to wireless service take a bit longer.
– Porting to a virtual / Internet-based phone system takes 5-7 business days.
The good news is that while the port is taking place, you’re still able to use your phone number. Just make sure not to cancel the service with your old provider while the port is in process.
Yes, it will. During the transfer process, your number will remain active during the process. You’ll be able to use your phone number with your original provider up until the port date. At that point, the number moves to your new carrier.
Depending on the VoIP service, you can use your new number with mobile phones, desktops, and other internet/wifi-enabled devices.
In most cases, porting your phone number out will cancel your service with your old provider. We recommend confirming that once your number is ported. However, don’t cancel your service while the porting process is happening. That might interrupt the port.
Yes, you can. Porting a Skype number is the same as porting any other kind of number. You need to contact your new provider and they can initiate the porting process.
After your number is ported over, you should be able to call and text using your new provider. If it’s a VoIP provider, you’ll need to download their app (if you haven’t already).
Your existing phone and text conversations won’t carry over with most VoIP providers. However, you can upload your existing contacts as a CSV to OpenPhone.
Call forwarding is a business phone system feature that allows you to reroute incoming calls to another phone number. Unlike in the case of porting, it involves two phone numbers, one which the caller has dialed and another to which the call is re-routed.
Porting your number doesn’t involve re-routing. Your number remains the same, but the number will be serviced by a different provider once you’ve made the switch.
Both have different use cases. If you’re unhappy with your current provider, you should port your number. On the other hand, if you want to temporarily forward calls to another number, you can use call forwarding.
Austin, TX-based storyteller with a background in support operations that’s helped businesses for 3+ years navigate virtual phone solutions. Passionate about sharing best practices for calling and texting.