telecommunication consultingNumber portability is the process of moving your phone number from one phone service provider to another.

Number porting was mandated by the FCC in 1996.  The mandate required all the carriers in the top 100 market places to be LNP (Local Number Portability) capable and to port numbers to any carrier sending a bona fide request.  Number portability was essential for real competition to exist in the telecommunication industry.

Now, number portability is available everywhere and consumers can port a phone number from wireless to wireline, wireline to wireless, wireline to VoIP and all the other combinations.

The following are some rules and tips that could be useful if you’re taking your company through the porting process:

  • Do not terminate your existing service before initiating service with the prospective new provider.  A number can’t be ported if it’s not in service.
  • Once you request service from the new phone service provider, your old provider may not refuse to port your number, even if you owe money for an outstanding balance or an early termination penalty. Although there are some common things telecom carrier rep refuses to do which is fine.
  • Providers may charge fees to recover their costs associated with number porting.  Fees may vary, from company to company, and some companies won’t charge them.  However, a provider may not refuse to port their customer’s phone number because the customer has not paid their porting fees.
  • If a company has a problem porting a business phone number and you can’t resolve it with their provider, they can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Typically a provider requires 10 business days to port a business phone number.  If there are any order issues, the 10 day interval has to be restarted.

Number portability has added another step and time to business phone service orders but since its inception pricing has come down and technology has increased significantly, as companies compete for new customers.

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