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.
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 how to port a number and the most frequently asked questions about the phone number porting process.
How to port your number in 4 steps
Phone number porting is mostly a simple process — here’s how it works:
1. Figure out if your number is eligible for porting
In most 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, check for the existing admin on that account and ask for their help with gathering the information you need to port out the number.
You can find out if your number is eligible for porting on most carriers’ websites.
- For Verizon, visit the Switch to Verizon page
- For AT&T, visit the Transfer Your Number page
- For T-Mobile, visit the Keep Your Number page
According to the FCC, it’s often feasible to transfer your phone number from a traditional landline (also known as a plain old telephone system) to a mobile phone. If you’re considering this switch, consult with your mobile service provider to determine if they support this type of number porting.
When you transfer your number from a landline to a mobile phone, be aware that your existing long-distance carrier associated with the landline won’t transfer along with the number. Instead, your new mobile service provider will typically handle long-distance calls.
Sometimes, a provider is unable to port a number if they don’t serve the geographic area the number belongs to, as they don’t 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.
2. Let your current provider know that you’ll be porting out
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.
3. 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; this should include the number you’re porting, your name, and the 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.
- A Letter of Authorization signed by you that grants permission to the new carrier to do the port.
Other information your new provider will need includes:
- Number of phone numbers you want to port
- Type of number
- Local US, local Canada, or toll-free/1-800
- Mobile, landline, or VoIP
- Current provider
- Whether the account is under your personal name or the business name
4. Wait for your new carrier to 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 to cancel.
Porting request timelines can vary by provider, but it generally takes 5 to 10 business days.
Here’s a more detailed view of the average porting time by provider:
|Estimated time to port a number
|US numbers: 5 to 7 business days
Canadian numbers: 10 to 12 business days
|Mobile: 4 to 24 hours
Landline: 2 to 4 business days
|Mobile: Minutes to 5 business days
Landline: 5 to 7 business days
|Mobile: 10 minutes to 2 hours
Landline: 3 to 10 days
|Up to 48 hours
|Up to 10 business days
|15 to 30 business days
|Up to 2 weeks
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
- AI features like call summaries, transcriptions, and message responses
- Auto-attendant and call routing
- Call recording
- And much more
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.
Why port your phone number?
If you’re still on the fence about moving an existing number elsewhere, you may want to port your phone number to another service for a variety of reasons:
- 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 to another provider, you can:
- Access a more suitable service that lets you build better relationships with your customers while keeping your phone number(s)
- 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
Porting your number to OpenPhone is incredibly easy and straightforward. See if OpenPhone is a fit for your business by signing up for a seven-day free trial today.
Phone Porting FAQs
After porting thousands 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:
Reasons to port your phone number include:
1. Switching to a more cost-effective phone solution without changing your number
2. Moving your mobile number to a virtual service for overseas relocation
3. Keeping your number while eliminating the need to have a landline
1. Transfer to a better business phone service while retaining your number
2. Consolidate two cell phones by porting a number to a virtual service
3. Give your team access to a business number that can act as a shared inbox to split responsibility for incoming calls and texts
4. Switch your landline to a VoIP service for texting capabilities
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.
Yes, in most countries and areas you can port a number online. Just visit your current provider’s number porting page and follow the directions to start the process.
If you plan to message US numbers after porting your number to a provider like OpenPhone, we recommend signing up for an account and completing carrier registration before you start the porting process. Registrations may remain pending for up to 30 days, but we’re currently receiving some approvals in as quick as 5-7 days. In cases where your information is unable to be verified expediently, it may take longer than 30 days. Due to emerging regulations pushed for by the large US cell providers, you aren’t able to message US numbers until registration is approved.
Once your registration is approved, start the porting process two weeks before you’re ready to switch providers. That’s how long it takes to port your number over to your new provider. You can continue using your number with your existing provider until the porting process is complete as long as you keep your account active with them. Then, after your number is ported over, you can cancel.
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 a local US number to a virtual / Internet-based phone system takes 5-7 business days. Moving a Canadian number to a virtual phone system can take 7-10 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.
To transfer your number, you need to provide your billing information, account details, and a letter of authorization to your new provider to initiate the porting process. You’ll also need to share who your current provider is, the type of number you’re looking to transfer, and how many phone numbers you want to port.
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.
Yes, you can port North American toll-free numbers from one carrier to another.
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.
Yes, you can port your number yourself by notifying your current provider and new provider that you’ll be switching services. You also need to provide the right paperwork to your new provider.