Can you Take your VoIP Number with You?

Posted on: 2018-11-06 | Categories:SIP

Sometimes you have to make tough decisions as a business owner or manager. Upgrading to a new technology or switching suppliers are good examples. These decisions need a lot of planning and preparation. Switching over to VoIP doesn’t have to be a tough decision. After all, the new technology offers many benefits at a fraction of the cost of older systems.

But as the business owner, you may still have concerns. One of the most common queries from organizations is – what happens to all my numbers? If a person decides to change their phone number, they have to update all their friends and contacts. You have to change it on every website and with every business you’ve ever worked with.

Now imagine a business having to go through the same thing. Your phone number is visible everywhere – from your advertising to the company letterhead. Your customers are familiar with it and many have even memorized it. It is the first point of contact between your business and the world. So, what happens if you change to VoIP? Can you take your number with you or not?

Moving Your Number from PSTN to VoIP

One of the reasons that people and businesses hesitate to switch carriers is the thought of having to use a new number. Thanks to various laws on number portability, users can take their phone number with them. But there are restrictions that can impact some transactions. Limitations in technology, service area, coverage, and geography can make it difficult for some businesses to keep their numbers. For the most part, you can keep your number when you switch service providers.

The ability to keep your number varies by country as well. For instance, some countries do not allow porting numbers from landlines to mobile phones and vice versa. Others allow for complete portability – you can take your number from a landline to a mobile phone to a VoIP system without issues.

Hosted VoIP for Business

VoIP Number Portability

VoIP is set to become the dominant communication platform for the future. Therefore, it’s not surprising that VoIP service providers are subject to number portability rules. If a user cancels service, the provider has to port out their number. A vendor cannot refuse the request even if the user has an outstanding balance or other fees on their account.

Porting can get more complicated for business organizations. You might have a separate agreement with the carrier for early termination fees and other charges. Even under those circumstances, the service provider cannot hold your number hostage. They are still required to approve your porting request.

How Long Does It Take?

The reporting process doesn’t actually take a lot of time and most requests are completed within a few days. Telecom regulators often state that number porting should be completed within a day but it is sometimes not possible due to technology restrictions. Some carriers complete the process in a few hours. Others may take up to 10 days, depending on internal administrative processes.

It’s always a good idea to ask your new service provider about the estimated time for the porting process. You should not cancel your service with the old vendor until then. You don’t want to lose phone service to your business, however short the interval may be.

But just because the rules exist, doesn’t mean everyone follows them. What can you do if an unscrupulous vendor holds your phone number hostage? It would mean that you can’t switch providers even if you are getting a better deal somewhere else.

Check Your Reporting Request for Mistakes

Porting requests routinely get rejected. Why? The biggest reason is mistakes and errors in the written request. If the information you submitted does not match what the vendor has on file, they have no choice but to reject it. Make sure you double check the forms before submitting them. Important information like phone number, billing address, name etc. should match.

Call the Vendor

Most VoIP vendors have an automated process for number porting. But mistakes can and do happen, even with software. The quickest way to resolve the issue might be to give them a call. Talk to a person who can clarify the problem and verify that it’s not because of a mistake you made.

File a Complaint

If everything else fails, you should file a complaint with the relevant authority. Keep a meticulous paper record of all your interactions with the vendor. This helps your case if further action is needed.

Before you sign a contract with any hosted VoIP service provider, check that they allow portability. A vendor may not have numbers in the specific area code you need but in most other circumstances, you should be able to take your VoIP number with you.