Your phone number is like your identity. Customers, family members, and friends all remember you based on your phone number, as it is one of the most surefire ways to connect. So it is important that you are able to keep your phone number regardless of whether you move or switch your service. And a Voice over Internet Protocol service is no different: you can easily port your existing phone number over to your new VoIP solution. Some offer number porting for free, while other providers offer a minimal one-time setup fee. Check with your new VoIP provider to see what charges (if any) there are for number porting.
Here's how number porting works: your new provider will provide you a form called the Letter of Authorization (LOA), which needs to be filled out by you. The form requires you to fill out information like your current service provider, account number, address, and other pertinent information. Doing so essentially authorizes your new VoIP service provider to contact your current provider and request your phone number. Your LOA is often accompanied by a copy of your current phone bill as well.
After it is submitted, your number porting status is converted to Awaiting Firm Order Commitment (FOC). It is the approval process, where you will learn whether your transfer has any problems/errors. Some of the more common errors include: your number is not portable, the end user is already porting the number, the billing names do not match, and there is a distinctive ring on the line. While most of these can be remedied by the user, if your number is deemed "not portable" then you are out of luck. Pending any errors, your request is then sent to the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) by your new provider. NPAC creates a pending port, notifies your old provider, an agreement is met that the number can be ported, and then the pending port is activated by NPAC.
But what happens while the porting process is taking place? Do you simply miss calls? Thankfully, VoIP makes it easy: use the call forwarding feature for incoming calls going to your existing number (the one being ported) forwarded to your temporary number. This way you can ensure that you are not missing out on important calls or business.
Be cautious not to terminate your existing phone service before you port your number, because this will result in you losing your number (with no hope of getting it back). Terminating your service before number porting occurs means that your number gets released into the system to be recycled.
Please note: number porting can take anywhere from a week to a month. This depends on any discrepancies, errors, and other factors. Please allow enough time for your number to be ported.
And what happens if you don't want to keep your number, and would like to choose a new one instead? VoIP has you covered. Most VoIP providers allow you to select a brand new number with any area code that you choose. Beyond the customization and flexibility of choosing your own number, you can also make it more affordable for others to call you, too.