Numbers • Last Updated 10/20/2023

How to port a phone number

Find out how to port a phone number quickly and seamlessly through traditional processes or with Telnyx FastPort®.


By Emily Bowen

Knowing how to port a phone number is a strategic advantage in telecommunications. Tethering your business to an underperforming service or outdated infrastructure can hinder growth and innovation. So, for telecom engineers, developers, and technical managers, understanding the intricacies of phone number porting is essential.

Phone number porting empowers businesses to transition between providers, ensuring they benefit from the best service quality, cost efficiencies, and cutting-edge features available in the market. But what are the technical nuances of this process? How can businesses ensure a smooth transition without disruptions? In this guide, we'll explore the mechanics of phone number porting, offering actionable insights and best practices to navigate this crucial aspect of telecommunications.

Why you would want to port a phone number

Porting a phone number is a decision often driven by a blend of business needs and technical imperatives. Here are some compelling reasons you might want to consider porting your phone number:

Keeping an old, recognized number

The primary reason for porting a number is to retain a recognized number, such as for your Toll-Free customer service hotline. It involves much less effort to port a number to a new carrier than to inform your customers about a number change and update all your documents and marketing materials.

Cost savings

Your business can save significantly on call terminations by switching to a provider that leverages better routing efficiencies and least-cost routing (LCR) algorithms.

Better service

Different carriers have varied network topologies. Porting to a carrier with strategically placed points of presence (PoPs) can reduce latency and improve call quality, providing a better service experience for your customers.

Integration with modern telecommunication protocols

Transitioning to providers that support advanced telecommunication protocols can unlock many features for your business. For instance, a developer might port to leverage WebRTC for browser-based communications, reducing the need for third-party plugins or software and streamlining your operations.

Porting a phone number can be a strategic move that enhances your telecommunication capabilities. However, there are some instances when a new number could be the right move for your business.

When it's easier to get a new phone number

In some scenarios, acquiring a new number might be more beneficial than porting an existing one. Here are a few other situations where getting a new number makes more sense than porting:

Geographical constraints and latency considerations

If a business is expanding into a region where the current provider lacks infrastructure, procuring a local number can lead to reduced call setup times. For instance, a VoIP service targeting customers in Asia might benefit from a local number in Singapore, ensuring low latency and improved voice quality due to reduced data travel distances.

Load distribution for high-traffic numbers

For numbers experiencing high inbound traffic, acquiring additional numbers can help distribute the load, ensuring optimal server performance and reduced call drops.

Excessive spam calls

If your current number is laden with spam calls, a fresh start might be desirable. Opting for a new number when your existing one has become a target for unwanted calls and messages helps you avoid answering calls that are a waste of your time.

After evaluating your current phone number’s specific needs and challenges, you can decide whether to port or procure a new number for your business.

Typical phone number porting process and timeline

Phone number porting, while appearing simple on the surface, involves intricate technical steps and checks. Here's a breakdown of the process and the typical timeline associated with each step:

1. Check eligibility (1–2 days)

Before initiating a port, you have to query the LRN (Local Routing Number) database. This step ensures the number is port-eligible and provides insights into the current carrier and rate center. The response time can vary, but typically, you'll get a response within about two days.

2. Choose a new provider (1–3 days)

Ensure the new provider supports the specific SIP standards and extensions your systems rely on, such as

  • Specific SIP methods
  • Headers
  • Custom extensions

Depending on the provider's responsiveness and the complexity of your requirements, this step can take up to three days. Some providers offer tools that allow you to check your numbers’ porting eligibility quickly.

3. Contact your new provider (2–5 days)

Modern porting processes are often API-driven. Developers must ensure the porting request payload—typically sent as a RESTful API call—is accurate and complete. This call includes retrieving the CSR (customer service record) from your current carrier, which provides a detailed snapshot of the number's configuration. Depending on the provider and the clarity of the information provided, this step can take up to five days.

4. Wait for transfer (5–10 days)

Once the port is approved, signaling systems—whether they’re the legacy SS7 or modern IP-based equivalents—need updates. Updating the systems ensures calls to the ported number traverse the correct network paths and reach the intended destination. The transfer process can vary based on several factors but typically takes up to 10 days.

5. Test transfer (1–2 days)

After porting, it's crucial to conduct a series of SIP tests. By sending SIP INVITE requests and analyzing the responses, developers can validate the successful transfer of the number. It typically takes up to two days to conduct tests to ensure everything functions as expected.

The entire porting process can take anywhere from 10 to 22 days, depending on various factors like

  • The providers' responsiveness
  • The clarity of the information provided
  • The complexity of the systems involved.

Understanding these steps and associated timelines can help you plan your porting process efficiently to minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth transition.

While traditional porting can take 10 to 22 days, Telnyx's FastPort® system significantly shortens this timeline. Depending on the type of port you need, it may only take 1–4 days. With automation and real-time updates, FastPort® streamlines the process, eliminating many of the delays and inefficiencies of conventional methods.

4 tricks for a shorter port time

While the porting process is very similar across most conventional providers, there are specific strategies and best practices that can expedite the transition and mitigate potential challenges. By being proactive and ensuring accuracy at every step, businesses can make the porting experience less of a headache—even if they choose a provider that uses the tedious, traditional porting process.

1. Provide accurate information

Ensure your CSR data, along with any other parameters in the porting API request, is consistent and accurate.

2. Clear outstanding dues

Ensure you’ve settled all bills and financial obligations with your current provider. Unresolved payments or disputes can delay or prevent the porting process.

3. Keep both devices active

Monitoring old and new devices can help detect any anomalies or disruptions during the transition, so it’s important to keep them both operational until the porting process is complete.

4. Opt for business hours

Porting a phone number during business hours ensures service provider staff are available to handle the process and resolve any issues promptly. Conducting the port during these hours facilitates better communication between the losing and gaining providers and minimizes potential disruptions, especially for businesses that rely on continuous phone access.

Adhering to these best practices can significantly reduce your porting duration and ensure a hassle-free experience.

How Telnyx automated porting works

Telnyx's FastPort® system simplifies and expedites the porting process. Here’s how: Microservices architecture for high availability

FastPort®'s design leverages a distributed microservices architecture, ensuring that if one component faces issues, the overall system remains operational, ensuring high availability and resilience.

RESTful API-driven approach for developer ease

Developers can seamlessly integrate FastPort® into their existing systems, thanks to its RESTful API design. This approach simplifies the porting process and offers granular control over every step, from initiating a port to monitoring its status.

Real-time webhooks for instantaneous updates

FastPort®'s real-time webhook support ensures developers are always informed. Whether it's a status change in the porting process or a notification about required documentation, these webhooks provide real-time updates, reducing the manual overhead of tracking porting requests.

NPAC compliance for smooth transitions

FastPort®'s strict adherence to NPAC guidelines ensures every porting request aligns with industry standards. This alignment ensures compliance and ensures ports are processed efficiently, reducing the chances of rejections or delays.

With tools like FastPort®, businesses can confidently navigate the complexities of number porting, ensuring a seamless transition and optimal service quality.

Reduce number porting stress with Telnyx's FastPort®

Navigating the intricate landscape of number porting is not just about transferring a number from one carrier to another. It's about ensuring business continuity, maintaining customer trust, and leveraging advanced telecommunication capabilities. The process can seem daunting, with varying porting durations across countries and the potential pitfalls of incorrect documentation. However, the right tools and expertise can transform this challenge into a seamless experience.

By centralizing your porting requests in a user-centric portal, FastPort® offers an automated, standardized process that gives your team visibility into each step, so you no longer need to be apprehensive about switching carriers. By leveraging automation and providing real-time updates, FastPort® drastically reduces the time it takes to port numbers. Finally, FastPort® helps you onboard new customers quickly and reliably to achieve significant operational efficiencies.

But it's not just about speed. As an internationally licensed carrier, Telnyx ensures regulatory compliance, robust security, and reliable connectivity. By entrusting your porting needs to Telnyx, you're not just choosing a service. You're opting for peace of mind and operational excellence.

Contact our team to learn how your business can port numbers quickly and easily. Or sign up for a free account to start your seamless porting experience.

To learn more about porting your numbers with Telnyx, check out these resources:

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