How Long Does Number Porting Take & Why?
By Matej Mesar
| 18. April 2024 |
Call Center, Features
By M. MesarMatej Mesar
| 18 Apr 2024 |
Call Center, Features
    By M. MesarMatej Mesar
    | 18 Apr 2024
    Call Center, Features

    How Long Does Number Porting Take & Why?

    With so many companies fighting for customers’ attention, recognizability and trust are your biggest competitive advantages. But how quickly can you port a number to maintain them?

    The easy, hand-wavy answer is that it varies wildly – depending on the number type, it can be anywhere between 1 day and 12 weeks. But that won’t do you any good.

    So, in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the length of the number porting process, including the reasons why and ways to speed it up.

    Key takeaways:

    • Your past and new service providers, regulatory requirements, and contractual obligations all affect how long it takes to port your number.
    • If you want to speed up your number porting process, make sure to provide accurate information and maintain open communications with all parties. 
    • The best way to ensure a smooth and painless port, carefully choose your new provider based on their process, speed, and your overall business needs.

    What Is Number Porting?

    Number porting is the process of transferring a phone number from one service provider to another, such as a phone carrier or VoIP system.

    Businesses often port numbers rather than get new ones to maintain a recognizable identity in future contact with their existing customers, as it helps boost the chances of a successful pick-up.

    On the client’s side, porting phone numbers is fairly simple – you just need to submit a request to your new desired provider.

    However, your old and new providers must coordinate behind the scenes to facilitate the transfer without disrupting your service. 

    As such, the number porting process can often take some time to complete.

    How Long Does Number Porting Typically Take?

    As we’ll discuss in a subsequent section, there are multiple factors that influence how long number porting takes. However, you can make an educated guess based on the type of number you want to port. 

    CloudTalk in particular offers mobile, local, toll-free, and international numbers across 160+ countries. You can find the average porting time for your desired number type and location in our article Phone Number Requirements and Functionality.

    Avg. Port Time

    Notes

    Offered by CloudTalk

    Mobile Number

    1 to 3 business days.

    Streamlined via a standardized process.

    Landline Number

    2 to 10 business days.

    May require infrastructure changes.

    VoIP Number

    1 to 7 business days.

    Speed depends on providers’ efficiency.

    Local Number

    2 to 5 business days.

    Can be significantly slower due to local requirements.

    Toll-Free Number

    5 to 10 business days.

    Slowed down by the national registry process.

    International Number

    5 to 10 business days.

    Depends on international regulations and carrier agreements.

    Virtual Numbers

    1 to 5 business days.

    Speed limited by digital provisioning.

    Business Numbers

    7 to 14 business days.

    Can be complex due to additional services.

    Fax Numbers

    5 to 10 business days.

    Similar to landlines, may require additional. verification.

    Short Codes

    8 to 12 weeks.

    Long due to special use cases, extensive reviews, and approval processes.

    What Influences Number Porting Time?

    People who switch providers or carriers often wonder – “Why is it taking so long to port my number?”. Well, as you’ll soon see, there are quite a few reasons why that might be the case. 

    You can also find a concise explanation in our video on the topic here:

    YouTube video

    The Type of Phone Number

    As shown in the previous section, the times required to port specific types of numbers vary wildly. That’s because numbers can require entirely different processes based on additional features, required infrastructure changes, and local and international legal verifications.

    Your Current Service Provider

    Sometimes, the biggest obstacle in number porting is your current service provider. Some carriers don’t allow number porting outright. And the speed for those who do, changes based on their priorities and process automation

    The New Carrier’s Process

    Similarly, the efficiency of your new carrier’s porting process can affect the overall duration. Some carriers may have streamlined procedures, while others may require additional verification steps or have longer processing queues. Due to that, it’s always best to look up porting details online before choosing a new provider.

    Regulatory Requirements

    International regulations and local laws, like the US FCC and the Telecommunications Act, may slow down your process to port a phone number. The amount by how much largely depends on the type of restrictions you’re subject to, your location, and your past and present provider’s relationship with specific regulatory bodies.

    Accuracy of Submitted Information

    The resolution time of your porting request also depends on your own conduct to a certain extent. It’s your responsibility to provide past and new providers with true and accurate information on both your request and Letter of Authorization (LOA). Otherwise, the additional back-and-forth may slow you down significantly.

    Your Contractual Obligations

    If you’re still under contract with your current service provider, you may need to fulfill some contractual obligations so the porting process can proceed, potentially prolonging the timeframe. Review your existing contract terms and understand any associated early-termination fees to help mitigate delays and ensure a seamless transition.

    Your Geographic Location

    Geographic factors, such as local regulations and available infrastructure, can influence the speed of the porting process. Urban areas with robust telecommunications infrastructure may have faster porting times compared to rural or remote locations with limited connectivity options.

    Your Network Infrastructure

    The complexity and compatibility of your existing network infrastructure with the new carrier’s systems can impact the ease and speed of porting. Porting a landline number or requesting custom configurations may require additional time and resources to integrate with the new provider’s network, resulting in longer porting times.

    Volume of Porting Requests

    High volumes of porting requests may lead to processing delays, especially during peak periods and significant market shifts. Providers may prioritize porting requests based on various factors, such as account status, service tier, or contractual obligations, which can affect processing times for individual requests.

    Special Services and Requirements

    Special services or features associated with your phone number, such as international calling plans or toll-free numbers, may require additional processing time. These services may involve complex routing configurations or regulatory compliance requirements that necessitate thorough testing and verification before porting can occur.

    How To Speed Up Number Porting?

    As you can see, there are many number porting issues that can significantly influence how long number porting takes. However, there are also quite a few ways to transfer your number to a new phone quickly. Learn more below.  

    Prepare Documentation in Advance

    To streamline your verification process, gather and ensure all the necessary information, such as account details and identification, is accurate and up to date ahead of time. It will help you speed up the initial paperwork and move forward with porting faster. 

    Verify Account Details

    Double-check all submitted information to ensure accuracy and consistency with both your current and new service providers’ records. Any discrepancies or errors could lead to processing delays and potentially result in a failed porting attempt.

    Communicate with Both Providers

    It’s important to maintain open communication with both your past and new service providers throughout porting. This includes submitting a port out and port in request, confirming the receipt, and verifying the status of the transfer.

    Choose the Right Time to Port

    As with most things in life, timing is key. Try to port your number during a period when both periods have a lower workload to reduce the risk of delays. Peak periods such as holidays, weekends, and special promotions are ones to look out for in particular. 

    Simplify Services

    Does your current plan and subsequent request demand services you rarely use? If that’s the case, consider canceling unused features and reducing complexity to not only save some money but streamline the porting process as much as possible.

    Follow Up Regularly

    Sometimes, all you need for better and faster service is to give a little push. Regularly follow up with both providers to check on the status of your request and address any outstanding issues promptly across both calls and emails. 

    Leverage Expertise

    By now, it should be clear that number porting is no simple matter, so there’s no shame in asking for some professional help. It’s a good idea to discuss the viability of your number port ahead of time and throughout the process as well. 

    Select the Right Provider

    Last but certainly not least, your choice of provider also plays an important role in number portability. Research the porting policies and procedures of prospective providers and consider customer reviews before committing to the best experience.

    For example, below, you’ll find out what it looks like when you port to CloudTalk.

    How to Prepare for Number Porting

    Overall, the number porting process can be quite simple on your side, but you can do a few things to ensure it goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. This includes:

    • Ensure Your Number Is Portable:
      Before initiating a porting request with CloudTalk, we recommend contacting your current service provider (SP) to let them know you will be porting the number. 

      This helps ensure the fastest and smoothest port possible, as your SP will be able to provide you with all the necessary details regarding your number.
    • Identify The Carrier Or Range Holder:
      Often, your VoIP service provider and carrier are two different entities, and you may need to make a request to the latter to complete your porting request. Ask your SP about their process to make sure you know how to proceed.
    • Double-check Your Service Address:
      This is the address that the current carrier has on record connected to your number. It may differ from your company’s billing address with the commercial SP.
    • Identify The Authorized User:
      Most providers require the LOA to be signed by a specific user connected to the account where the number is hosted, such as the main account holder or administrator.
    • Find Out Your Account Number:
      Your provider may have a unique account number for you, which should be listed on the LOA.
    • Track Down Your PIN Or Migration Code:
      Some providers require a specific verification code or PIN to port numbers. For example:

      • USA wireless numbers usually have a 4-digit PIN.
      • UK mobile numbers require a PAC code.
      • French mobile numbers require an RIO code.
      • Italian numbers each have an individual migration code.
      • Czech numbers have an OKU code.

    How to Port Your Number to CloudTalk

    Ready to make the jump to CloudTalk? Here’s everything you need to know and do to make the transition as smooth as possible.

    YouTube video
    • Make Sure You Have Everything You Need:
      You need to fulfill several requirements to be eligible for porting your number to CloudTalk. This includes:

    • Ensure Your Number Can Be Ported:
      There are two situations when it might be impossible to port your number. The first is that CloudTalk doesn’t offer the specific country/format combination you requested. The other is that your service provider doesn’t allow number porting.

      In either situation, you can purchase a different number alternative from our selection of 160+ globally available phone numbers.
    • Submit All The Necessary Documentation:
      To start a porting request for your existing phone numbers, send us an email to porting@cloudtalk.io with the subject “Port-in request” and provide us with the following:

      • The numbers you want to port in an E. 164 international format (e.g., +442012345678).
      • Name of your current service provider for the numbers you want ported.
      • Name of the range holder or underlying carrier. This can be different from the service provider, so ask your current VoIP company.
      • Name of the person, company, or organization the number is registered under with your current service provider.
      • Full registered address of the person, company, or organization the number is registered under with your current service provider. This may be different from your billing address, so make sure to double-check.
      • A copy of your last bill for the numbers you want to port.
    • Fill Out The Letter Of Authorization:
      After you make your porting request, our team will check if the number is portable from our side. If it is, we’ll provide you with an LOA (Letter of Authorization) template to fill out and ask you for any other documents that may be required. 

      Please take care when filling out the LOA to ensure all the information submitted is correct.
    • Wait While CloudTalk Takes Care Of The Rest:
      Once the LOA and all signed documents are received, the process is as follows:

      • CloudTalk and our partnered “gaining” carrier will submit all documents to the current “losing” carrier.
      • CloudTalk will add the number to your dashboard so you can start setting inbound call flows, business hours, agents, and call groups.
      • When the losing carrier accepts the port-out request, both carriers will schedule the date the number will be moved to our network.
      • The number will be ported to CloudTalk’s carrier on the agreed-upon date and will thereby become active in your app.
    • Start Calling With Your (Old) New Number:
      In total, the set-up process will take 1-10 days, and migration around 5 days. Once everything is done, you can log into your CloudTalk account and start calling again!

    Final Thoughts On Number Porting

    Number porting may not always be instantaneous, but it still provides quite a few benefits to make it worth your while. So, make sure you don’t miss out. Use the information covered in this article to take proactive steps and expedite the process.

    Remember to prepare your documentation and verify account details ahead of time. Maintain open communications throughout the process to ensure a smoother transition process and experience as little downtime as possible.

    Number Porting FAQs

    What phone numbers cannot be ported?

    Certain types of phone numbers, such as temporary or prepaid numbers, may not be eligible for porting. Additionally, numbers associated with specialized services, such as emergency hotlines or toll-free numbers, may have restrictions on portability.

    Can a phone company refuse to port your number?

    In some cases, a phone company may refuse to port your number if you have outstanding contractual obligations or if the number is not eligible for porting according to regulatory guidelines. However, such refusals are typically rare, and providers are required to provide a valid reason for any refusal to port a number.

    How do you check if my number can be ported?

    You can verify if your number is eligible for porting by contacting your current service provider or prospective new provider. They can provide information on porting eligibility based on factors such as account status, service type, and regulatory requirements.

    What is the difference between port in vs. port out?

    Porting in, also known as “importing,” refers to the process of transferring your existing phone number from another service provider to your current service provider. This typically occurs when you switch to a new carrier or sign up for a new service with an existing carrier while retaining your current phone number.

    Porting out, also known as “exporting,” involves transferring your existing phone number from your current service provider to another service provider. This occurs when you decide to switch carriers or terminate service with your current provider while retaining your phone number.

    Can you keep your number when switching carriers?

    Yes, in most cases, you can keep your phone number when switching carriers. This process is known as number porting or phone number portability. 

    It allows you to retain your existing phone number even when transitioning between service providers or switching between different types of services, such as landline, mobile, or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

    However, certain eligibility criteria and regulatory requirements may apply, so it’s advisable to check with both your current and prospective service providers to ensure a smooth transition.

    Does porting a number cost money?

    In many cases, porting a number does not incur additional fees from the service provider. However, there may be exceptions depending on the specific terms and conditions of your service contract. 

    Some providers may impose porting fees or administrative charges, particularly if you are terminating service early or if there are outstanding contractual obligations.

    It’s essential to review your service agreement or contact your provider directly to inquire about any potential costs associated with porting your number.

    Where can I port my number for free?

    While most service providers offer number porting services, the availability of free porting options may vary depending on factors such as your current provider, the type of service you’re porting to, and any promotional offers or incentives available at the time of porting.

    Government regulations in some regions may mandate that providers offer number portability at no cost to consumers, ensuring that you have the freedom to choose your preferred service provider without financial barriers.