The Ultimate Guide to International Number Porting
If you want to retain your legacy number and move to the cloud while expanding your business globally, you should consider porting your phone number! Keep reading to learn how in our comprehensive guide.
Your business phone number is arguably one of the most important parts of your business. It’s available online, on your marketing collateral, employee email signatures - you name it. And it exists in so many places because it’s one of your leading forms of communication.
Once you’ve had an established presence with a phone number, you’d probably like to keep it for the long haul. But what if your call rates change, or the need for more global coverage presents itself as you look to expand your business? You might be asking yourself, “Is it possible to change my carrier without giving up my number?”
There’s a better, faster, and more convenient way to move your phone number to a new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider. The process is called number porting.
What is Number Porting?
Number porting, sometimes referred to as number transferring, is the process of taking a legacy phone number over to a new carrier.
This is an excellent service for IT leaders and call center managers who want to switch VoIP providers without changing their business phone numbers and experience a modernized cloud-based system for access to better call rates and redundant infrastructure that support their remote workforce.
To figure out if number porting might be the right option for your organization, start by answering these four questions:
- Are you looking for a VoIP provider with better rates, more advanced features, improved customer service, or a wider range of coverage?
- Is your organization relocating or opening new offices?
- Does your company have a national or international presence?
- Do you have a mobile workforce?
If you answered “yes” to any of these options, number porting is an excellent option for your organization.
Domestic Numbers vs. International Numbers
Before you begin the number porting process, let’s talk about the two types of number porting and the use-cases for each.
1. Local Number Porting (LNP)
Local number porting refers to number porting that relates to fixed lines. This is a great option for organizations expanding in-country offices or moving to another local location.
Local phone numbers are also known as DDI/DID numbers, which stand for direct dial-in/direct inward dialing. Specific to a certain city, these virtual phone numbers work like regular local numbers and give businesses the ability to forward inbound calls internationally or locally to an existing business line or mobile device. This allows callers to contact your business at better, more cost-effective rates as a local phone call, regardless of their actual location. DID numbers are popular with companies wanting to establish a local appearance in a specific region without the need for a physical location or office.
2. International Number Porting
International number porting is an excellent option for organizations with a global presence as it allows you to transfer your toll free phone numbers from one VoIP provider to another.
International toll free numbers (ITFS) enable customers to dial free of charge and connect to your designated phone number or IP Address. Toll free numbers are great for businesses that have a global customer base but want to add a local presence for their business. These numbers also offer additional flexibility with call forwarding functions, enabling you to forward and route calls to different locations using cloud technology. Rates for calls vary depending on where the calls terminate and on what device.
Domestic numbers and international numbers have different protocols. International numbers can be local numbers or toll-free numbers while domestic numbers result in either local or long-distance calls within your country. For the purpose of this blog, we are focusing on the International number process.
How Does International Number Porting Work?
Porting requirements vary depending on several factors, including the country number origination, network carrier, and dial code. But, the international porting process itself is relatively consistent across providers. Here’s our 7-step guide on what to expect with virtual number porting.
Step 1: Port Requested
The winning service provider notifies the existing service provider of the requested port.
Step 2: Customer Information Validation
The existing provider is asked to validate the customer's information.
Step 3: Customer Information Confirmation
The existing provider confirms the customer's information with the winning service provider. (Note: if the information is not submitted correctly this can delay the process.)
Step 4: In-Country Porting Authority Notification
The winning provider notifies the country’s porting authority of the requested port.
Step 5: Pending Port Notification
The porting authority creates a pending port and sends a notification to the existing service provider.
Step 6: Port Activation Request
The winning service provider notifies the porting authority to activate the port.
Step 7: Port Activation Complete
The pending port is activated by the porting authority and instantly broadcast to the telecommunications industry network.
While the porting process is relatively simple, there can be delays in the process due to incorrect information or individuals and associations creating bottlenecks. We will cover how to solve these disruptions in our FAQ section below.
International Number Porting Requirements
While the requirements to transfer phone numbers may differ between countries, typically the process will require the following documentation to be completed to initiate a number transfer:
1. Letter of Authorization (LOA)
This signed documentation allows a new carrier to reach out to your current provider and start the number porting process for you. In some cases, you may also be required to provide a Letter of Intent (LOI).
2. Proof of Ownership
The new provider will need to see that you do own your business number. It merely requires a PDF copy of an invoice that associates your number, name, and billing address.
3. Number Porting Form
Some countries may require an additional form to port your international phone number. Your new carrier should provide you with details and directions on filling this out if applicable.
However, depending on which region you are hoping to transfer your number to, there may be different requirements.
VoIP Number Porting Best Practices
Before you start the number transfer processes, we recommend you read over your existing contract and ask yourself these questions:
- Does my existing provider charge early cancellation fees? If so, how much?
- Is my account in good standing order, or do I have outstanding balances?
- What special features are active on my toll free number, and how do I go about de-activating them?
- Does my new provider offer the same features and are these automatically activated upon transfer?
By asking these questions, you will be able to better compare your plans apples to apples and ensure you are porting your number to the best possible carrier.
International Number Porting Checklist
Keep in mind, international number porting may take a bit longer than porting a number to a local service provider. There are several things you can do to effectively impact the process and get it moving swiftly, so you can connect with your audience even faster.
1. Confirm your number is portable.
Some service providers may have a contract clause that numbers purchased are not portable, or the account must remain with the provider for a specific period of time before porting. Check with your provider to make sure that your number is portable and you’re not obligated to continue your contract.
2. Stay with the current provider until porting is complete.
Don’t cancel on your provider just yet. Wait for the go-ahead from your new one before scrubbing the old one. If removed prematurely, you could risk losing your phone number altogether and extending the processing time even more.
3. Obtain an invoice copy.
Your phone invoice contains all the essential information a new provider needs to process your porting request. The statement contains several important details your new provider may ask to see, including a customer ID number, phone numbers associated with your account, usage history, and service and billing address.
4. Begin the conversation.
Once the invoice copy has been obtained, you can begin the conversation with the new provider about your interest in porting international business numbers. You might need to fill out a digital pre-requisite form first before speaking to a representative.
5. Sign and send a Letter of Authorization.
You’ll have to complete, sign, and send a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to your new provider. When they’ve received it, along with any other required documents, the carrier will then initiate the porting process and reach out to your current provider. It can take days to complete, especially if the number is a landline, mobile, or virtual number.
6. Test it.
When your provider has successfully transferred your number on their network, try a few inbound and outbound test calls to make sure the connection and quality are up to your expectations. Be sure to reach out to your account manager or support team for any service issues.
Number Porting FAQs
Whether this is your first time hearing about number porting or you’ve dabbled in this option prior, you likely have a lot of questions before making the switch for your company. We’re here to help. Below, we are covering the frequently asked questions about number porting services.
Some carriers charge a one-time fee to port your phone number to their network. Those fees vary depending on the provider. Compare porting costs apples to apples with the table below:
When porting a phone number, your new and current carrier engages in getting your number transferred behind the scenes. Your new carrier initiates the number transfer conversation, and your current carrier who is keeping your number active approves its release so it can be transferred to your new provider. The new provider then takes the number and activates it as your new carrier.
Yes, your losing carrier should cancel your service upon porting your number. However, for safe measures, it’s best to contact them once your number has been ported over to ensure the account has been closed.
While it depends on the carrier selected, the porting process may take anywhere from 7-30 business days. Below are a few porting timelines from various providers:
Porting your number will not disrupt your service. At no point during the number porting process is your number out of service. No downtime, no problems! During the porting process, your current carrier keeps the number active until the new carrier has accepted the transfer.
For extra measures, you may also set up call forwarding to a fixed, virtual, or mobile line under your new provider. AVOXI offers free call forwarding with every port plus a month of free calls!
The majority of number transfers are smooth and hassle-free. However, there are times when carriers reject the number porting request. This generally happens due to lack of information, insufficient support documentation, incorrect number details, or outstanding payments.
If a problem does occur, make sure the information you provided to your new provider is exactly what’s listed on your phone bill.
The Number Porting Process at AVOXI
If you’re ready to port your phone number, you’re in the right place. Here at AVOXI, we make it easy to transfer your toll free, local, and non-geographical numbers from 100+ countries. Our online shopping cart expedites the entire process. Just select your package size, then an AVOXI expert will reach out to confirm and set up an account. Plus, for a limited time, earn a full month of free calling no matter how many calls you take.
Start Transferring Your Business Lines for Free
Contact us today to see just how easy it is to port your business numbers to AVOXI and get 20+ complimentary call features to help elevate success within your business and keep your legacy number.
Lauren is the wordsmith at AVOXI, breaking down the complexity of telecommunications into easily digestible stories. Lover of strong cups of coffee, she also enjoys global travel and long walks with her pups, Athena and Apollo.