Have you ever wondered why porting phone numbers can take a long time, and it’s almost always a painful process? While it seems like a relatively simple concept, it wasn’t always possible, and today requires the involvement of multiple parties. To fully understand number portability, it’s best to start with a brief history.
Historically, the NPA-NXX (area code) of your phone number determined geographically where to send the call and to which carrier. In 1996, The Telecommunications Act made porting numbers possible by requiring all local exchange carriers to provide Local Number Portability (LNP). This allowed consumers to keep their phone number while switching service providers. As a result of local number portability, the NPA-NXX of a phone number no longer accurately reflected the geographic location and provider. Instead, we use Local Routing Numbers (LRN) to make number portability possible without having to dramatically change the infrastructure or routing model of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Today all phone numbers are associated with LRN - essentially your phone number’s address - which determines where to route your calls and who the appropriate provider is.
Here is the process for porting phone numbers: First, you need to establish an account with your desired new service provider before disconnecting service with your current provider. To start porting numbers, you must submit information regarding your account to your new service provider. The Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) explicitly outlines the steps to number porting:
- The new service provider notifies the old service provider of the requested port.
- The old service provider is asked to validate the subscriber's information.
- The old service provider confirms the subscriber's information and notifies the new service provider.
- The new service provider notifies the NPAC of the requested port.
- The NPAC creates a pending port and sends a notification to the old service provider.
- Optionally, the old service provider notifies the NPAC that it concurs with the port.
- The new service provider notifies the NPAC to activate the port.
- The pending port is activated in the NPAC and broadcast to the telecommunications industry network within milliseconds.
Often times, the main cause for delays when porting phone numbers is incorrect subscriber information. When porting numbers, if the submitted information doesn’t match the information on file, the port will be rejected and new information must be resubmitted - essentially starting the validation process all over again. Unfortunately, the first mismatch of information found will cause the port request to be rejected immediately without reviewing the submitted information in its entirety for additional errors. When this happens, it can take multiple resubmissions to get it right. To avoid these issues, be sure to double-check that everything is correct when gathering your account information. We recommend calling your current provider to confirm the information before submitting a porting request. Once your information is accepted, you should experience no down time while your numbers are moved from your old provider to your new provider.
Given the multiple possibilities that could cause a porting request to be rejected, it’s important that your new carrier be experienced in porting phone numbers. Experienced carriers have an established process and fully understand how to efficiently handle these requests to eliminate errors and ensure no down time. At Telnyx, our porting experts make porting existing DIDs and toll-free numbers painless - not too mention it’s free! Once our customers send us an LOA, we take care of everything else on the back end. You will receive a calendar invite from our Customer Success Team for the date and time of your number port. At this time, a designated support team member will be on call to confirm the port was successful and address any technical concerns you may have. We understand porting is not easy for everyone, which is why we make sure we are there every step of the way at no additional cost!
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