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Written by
Katy Ratican
13 Jul 2021
4 minutes
Number porting: What is it and why do you need to know about it?
Everything a business owner needs to know about number porting – including alternatives
Pexels shvets production 6980229 what is number porting

Most people would agree that transferring contacts from one phone to another can be a big hassle. All the joy of getting a new phone vanishes when you have to wonder whether the numbers are saved on the SIM or the phone and then figure out how to transfer them. Porting a number is the solution to all that.

What is number porting?

Porting a number is changing telecom providers without changing your phone number. You are essentially shifting your service while keeping the number.

There are two kinds of porting: local number and full number. Local number porting is when you change fixed-line phone providers. With the full number option, you’re changing mobile service companies while keeping the same number.

Do you have the right to port your number?

Yes, as per the Wireless Local Number Portability (WLNP), as a consumer, you have the right to do so and your current provider can’t disallow that even if you owe them termination fees.

Why change providers?

  • Connectivity: Maybe your current mobile service provider’s coverage is weak at your home or place of work. While you struggle to get a signal or only get a patchy connection, your family members and colleagues seem to have a smoother connection through their providers. This will tempt most people to change their providers.

  • Cost: You realise that you’re spending too much on your mobile service. You discover that there are more competitive rates from other providers and would like to switch to one of them.

  • Plans: This is particularly true for business owners. You know that the plan that you signed up for years ago doesn’t suit your requirements now. Your usage has changed. Maybe you need more data now and find a rival provider with better plan options.

  • Capacity: You think it’s time to upgrade your phone because it’s getting slow. If the number is bundled with your device, it’s your chance to also change providers.

How long does it take to port a number?

It usually takes just a day. If there’s a weekend involved, you may have to wait for a business day to finish your porting. But if you’re porting from wireline to wireless, the process may take a few days.

Do I have to pay to port a number?

It depends on the agreement you have with your mobile service provider. If you’re leaving an agreement, there may be some charges. In some cases, if you negotiate with your carrier, they may reduce or waive the fee.

How do I port my number?

UK

You have to request a Porting Authorisation Code or PAC from your current provider. You can either call or text to get the code. Your network may ask you to verify your details and once satisfied, will issue your PAC within a couple of hours.

Then you need to contact your new service provider and give them the PAC. They will contact your current network, confirm the transfer and issue a new SIM to you.

US

Ensure that your current number is active. If it’s cancelled, you won’t be able to switch providers. It also helps to make sure that you don’t have any outstanding payments.

Then, get the necessary information that your new provider may need. These include your name, billing address, last statement, your account number and the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) of your mobile phone.

Approach your desired service provider and inform them. They will get in touch with your current mobile service company and do the rest.

Are there alternatives to porting a number for my business?

If you’re porting a number to save on your monthly payments and for adding capacity, maybe what you need is a second phone number. You can get a second phone number that you can use exclusively for business.

Plus, you get value-added features such as auto-text replies. You’ll also be able to request online reviews from your customers. The biggest advantage? You don’t have to buy a new phone. Download the app and you’ve got yourself a new number.

In short

Porting a number gives you the freedom to change carriers and choose the plan that’s right for you. The process is generally easy and hassle-free. But if you get a second phone number through an app, you will be getting several benefits without having to buy a new device.

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