Katy ratican headshot b w april 2021
Written by
Katy Ratican
28 Dec 2022
13 minutes

VoIP number porting: How to switch your existing number to a new provider

Thinking of VoIP number porting? This guide will explain the process and answer all your questions about porting your number to VoIP
VoIP number porting

If you’re a business owner, switching to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is one of the smartest decisions you can make. It saves you both initial and operational expenses, helps improve collaboration and connectivity and gives you the tools you need to grow your business. But if you want to keep your current number, you should also know about VoIP number porting.

In this guide to VoIP number porting, we will discuss how it works, how long it would take, what can delay the process and answer some frequently asked questions.

Contents:

What is VoIP number porting?
Why should you be interested in VoIP number porting?

How does phone number porting work?

How to port your current number to Chalkboard

How long does VoIP number porting take?

VoIP number porting: Things to consider before you start

Factors that can delay VoIP number porting

Can I port a VoIP number to a mobile phone?

Can I port my phone number to a VoIP provider?

What if my current contract prevents me from VoIP number porting?

Port your number to Chalkboard, the modern VoIP service

What is VoIP number porting?

VoIP number porting is the process of changing your telephone provider but retaining the number. In the case of VoIP, you would move to a new VoIP provider but would keep your old number.

In VoIP number porting, you would be porting a PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) number to VoIP or from one VoIP service provider to another. The process of VoIP number porting is straightforward and with top-rated providers, there won’t be any noticeable interruption to your service.

There are certain advantages and disadvantages of number porting that you should be aware of before you decide to make the switch. This will help you better plan and manage the process.

Why should you be interested in VoIP number porting?

There are four types of reasons why a business owner should know more about VoIP number porting. These are related to regulations, product and service quality and business continuity.

Regulations

Traditional phone systems are on their way out. By 2025, BT will switch off its PSTN and ISDN networks. This means that if you own any of these systems, you will have to switch to a VoIP provider before the deadline.

Moving to a digital network based on IP (Internet Protocol) will give you multiple value-added features. The earlier you prepare to make your move, the more seamless the VoIP number porting process will be.

Product quality

If you’re using a legacy phone system, you’re paying too much for less. While you might be comfortable with the phone provider, you may not be aware of all the features that you could get with VoIP number porting. For starters, it’s the ideal solution for remote and hybrid work.

With a top-rated VoIP number, you get business functionalities without having to invest in additional infrastructure. From call queuing, call forwarding, auto-reply and group broadcast, these are tools that will help you improve your marketing and customer service.

Service quality

Another reason to consider VoIP porting is if you’ve been consistently facing problems with your phone service. Beyond the features of the product, these relate to the speed and effectiveness of customer service and the terms and conditions of the contract.

Not all VoIP providers will be happy to let go of you. But laws in several countries give users the freedom to port and the providers have to abide by those regulations.

Business continuity

Once you have decided to get a new phone system, the obvious question is why would you want to carry your current number? The answer is that as a small business, freelancer or early-stage startup, this is the number that your customers and clients associate with your business. It will be expensive to get a new one and change all your collateral.

This is particularly important for businesses whose clients may not be active on social media. It will be difficult to individually notify them of your new number. That’s why VoIP number porting makes sense for independent businesses and service professionals.

Now that we know the reasons for VoIP number porting, let’s understand how it works.

How does phone number porting work?

Using these steps, you can make sure that your VoIP number porting works efficiently and without any interruptions to your service.

1. Identify your new VoIP provider

Start by analysing your current and expected phone usage. Are you planning to add more employees or expand into more areas? How many customer calls do you have to answer a day? Are you planning to launch a new product and will you need additional bandwidth for that?

Find a suitable VoIP provider who will provide the features you need with a flexible contract, friendly pricing and reliable customer support.

2. Let your current provider know you want to port your number

The next step is to inform your existing provider of your intention to port your number. At this stage, they might enquire about the reasons and in some instances, offer you better prices.

Remember that if it isn’t just about the price and you’re more worried about the quality of the product or service, it’s usually better to continue with your VoIP number porting.

3. Send information to your new provider

Now it’s time to contact your chosen provider and initiate the process of VoIP number porting. If you’re in the US, they will ask for a Letter of Authorisation or LOA signed by you. It’s also referred to as a Responsible Organisation Change Authorisation or simply as a RespOrg form.

If you’re initiating VoIP number porting in the UK, your new provider would request a 'Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) that your current provider will provide you.

Note: The information you give on the LOA must match the user’s first and last name, along with the service address given by your current phone provider.

4. Maintain your current phone service until porting is complete

Don’t end your existing contract with your provider before starting VoIP number porting. Doing so could lead to service disruptions. Porting is managed by the new provider you choose and all you have to do is give the LOA or PAC. The new provider will inform you of the port date, after which you can cancel your current service.

How to port your current number to Chalkboard

If you’re a small business owner or freelancer, porting to Chalkboard will give you an affordable, advanced and easy-to-use virtual number. If you decide to opt for VoIP number porting, contact your existing provider through either their portal or connect with someone from the porting department to get your service information.

If you're in the US

  • Sign the LOA and ensure that the information on it matches that given by your current provider. Remember that the service address isn’t the same as your billing address. Contact your current provider and request your service address.

  • Submit an electronic or scanned copy of your most recent phone bill (from the last 30 days). It should have the name, account and address information for the number you would like to port.

  • If you currently have a Google Voice number, include a screenshot of the settings page and ensure that your phone number and email address are in the screenshot.

  • If your current provider doesn’t give you a bill, provide a screenshot of your account portal that has the phone number or a receipt of your phone number purchase.

  • Once you submit the documents, it could take three to four weeks for your porting to complete. We will update you as it progresses.

👉 Start your VoIP number porting to Chalkboard.

If you're in the UK

  • Request your current provider for a PAC code and share it with us.

  • If all the information you provide is accurate, depending on how complex the port is, the process should be completed in five to seven business days.

  • Confirming with your current provider that you’re porting your number will speed up the process.

👉 Port your number in the UK to Chalkboard.

How long does VoIP number porting take?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates that number porting shouldn’t exceed a business day or a few days if it’s a mobile number. But this isn’t strictly enforced. According to Ofcom rules, in the UK, the process should only take a business day and they’re stricter about any delays. The British rules also stipulate that the customer should be compensated in case of delays.

But in reality, the process might take a few days. In the US, your new provider needs to get your LOA through the post and after that, there are certain administrative steps to be followed. If there’s any disparity in the information provided, there could be some delays.

VoIP number porting: Things to consider before you start

These are the things you should consider when porting your number to a VoIP provider.

Test your internet connection

VoIP runs on an internet connection and the speed and bandwidth of your connection will determine the quality of your calls and the ease with which you can share data. So, if you’re shifting from a legacy system to VoIP, make sure that you upgrade your internet connection for the surge in traffic.

Keep in mind that if you have remote employees, they also will have to check their internet connections. This is especially true if their family members access the internet through the same WiFi connection.

Have your documentation ready

  • LOA: Fill in your LOA that satisfies all requirements of the new provider. In the US, it has to be signed in pen and your new VoIP provider might need the original copy. Some providers would initiate the process once they get a scanned copy or fax but even then they might insist that you send the original by post.

  • Recent bills: Almost all VoIP providers will ask for your most recent statement. Some may even insist on two bills. Make sure that you have these ready.

  • Other information: You will have to provide your account number, proof of identity, and proof of address. The address on the LOA has to be the same as the one on your service invoice. Ensure that it’s accurate and without any spelling errors.

  • Account PIN: The new provider may not but your current provider might request your account PIN. You may not even know that you have an account PIN. That’s why you should contact your provider and have it beforehand.

Authorised contact

Before you initiate VoIP number porting, you need to know that only the individual who opened the account has the right to close it. If your phone account was opened by another person, such as an associate, business partner or spouse, they would need to sign your LOA.

If that individual is no longer associated with you, contact them and change the information on your account before you fill in the LOA.

If you’re the authorised contact on your phone account, ensure that your name and signature match what you submitted when opening the account. If there is any change in your name due to marriage or other reasons, use the original name in the LOA. Similarly, make sure that you sign your name the same way.

Factors that can delay VoIP number porting

Once you have all the documentation, you should be aware of these factors that could delay your VoIP number porting.

The existing service provider is slow to respond to the new provider

If there is a delay, you can contact your current provider and seek clarification. They might reveal any problems with the information you submitted. Try to get in touch with someone from the porting department and seek their help. If necessary, remind them of their legal obligation to help you port your number.

Porting in a phone number from outside of the US

VoIP number porting is only possible if your new provider has an interconnection agreement with your previous provider. If you’re porting a phone number from outside the US, talk to your new provider about whether they will support your porting.

Moving a landline number to a new provider

Both in the US and UK, you can port your landline number to a new provider although not all providers support it in the UK. The procedure remains the same but the process might take a little longer.

Problems due to errors and incorrect information

More often, porting gets delayed or rejected due to incorrect information or errors in your documents. The account number may not exactly match what the current provider has on file and there could be changes in the name or address. Similarly, there could be problems if the signature isn’t from the authorised contact or if there are discrepancies.

Do remember that the address on the phone bill may not be the one the company has on your file. This is why you should check with your current provider and confirm your address before you contact the new provider for VoIP number porting.

Phone number requires complex porting

If your phone number is attached to multiple lines or if it has unique features such as call forwarding, there could be problems with your VoIP number porting.

Can I port a VoIP number to a mobile phone?

Sometimes it’s possible to port a VoIP number to a cell phone. But if your VoIP number has an area code that doesn’t match your location, it wouldn’t be possible to port it.

Can I port my phone number to a VoIP provider?

Yes, you can port your current phone number to a VoIP provider unless it’s a complex one with multiple lines or specific features.

What if my current contract prevents me from VoIP number porting?

Some carriers may have restrictive clauses in their contracts that bar users from porting their numbers to another provider. At times, this happens because the users might have a cheaper package with that condition. You have three options in case you have such a limiting contract:

  1. You can upgrade to a higher plan that doesn’t have any restrictions on porting.

  2. Pay a fine to your current provider. They may not state it publicly, so you will have to get in touch with them.

  3. If those options fail, you can get a new number with a top-rated VoIP provider.

What if my current contract prevents me from VoIP number porting?

While doing VoIP number porting, what you want is to move to a service that offers demonstrable advantages to your business at affordable prices. In other words, one that provides immense value. And that’s precisely what Chalkboard offers.

Port your number to Chalkboard, the modern VoIP service

Your new VoIP number isn’t just a dedicated number for work. You don’t have to buy any additional devices to use this number that’s tailor-made for remote work. It comes with tools such as auto-reply that allow you to engage with calls you might miss. That along with contact organisation helps you achieve that coveted work-life balance.

You also get advanced chat, multi-media messaging and group broadcast to automate your marketing. You can choose a UK mobile or US local number and get started in minutes. All your calls and texts are included in the subscription fee with no additional charges.

Download Chalkboard and start your free trial. Let this advanced, affordable and easy-to-use phone work to grow your business. 📲

Get more from VoIP with Chalkboard

Chalkboard allows you to unlock all the benefits of VoIP. Start your free trial today.

Second number download module

All information provided in this guide was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of future changes.

Share
Chalkboard is a separate phone number for work
Keep your real number private, easily recognise work calls, and get extra tools to help you 👌 stay organised and 🚀 grow.
Wedding Shop

Continue reading

Help & advice
15 minutes

The complete guide to VoIP providers to help you choose the right system for your business

Help & advice
14 minutes

A comprehensive guide to UK VoIP small business phone systems for small businesses. Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of using a VoIP system to grow your business