What Is VoIP Number Porting? How Does It Work?

April 12, 2024 10 min read

Jeremiah Zerby

Jeremiah Zerby

what is VoIP number porting? How does VoIP number porting work?

Is your phone number the cornerstone of your customer connection? Imagine losing it during a move or provider switch. VoIP number porting saves the day.

VoIP number porting saves the day, whether you need to port a mobile number, a toll-free number, or a regular phone number to your new VoIP phone service helps you keep your business number — the one your clients know and trust.

This comprehensive guide equips you for a smooth transition to VoIP, covering:

Whether you’re switching VoIP providers or relocating, this guide empowers you to make the change seamless for your business and customers.

What Is VoIP Number Porting?

VoIP number porting allows you to retain your existing phone number when switching to a new VoIP service provider. This way, you can keep your familiar phone number even when switching to a new service.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that telephone numbers be portable between providers, as long as you remain within the same geographic area, also known as a rate center.

The rate center determines the phone number and area code assigned to you.

As long as you stay within those geographic limits, your new VoIP provider should be able to port your existing number to their service. This means you won’t have to go through the hassle of updating your contact information on business cards, websites, and with your customers.

You get a VoIP phone number (a virtual number) when you sign up for a VoIP service from a telecom provider. The VoIP provider will assign you a new phone number that routes calls over the internet instead of traditional phone lines.

However, with number portability, you have the option to transfer or “port” an existing phone number that you already have from a previous provider (VoIP or traditional landline) to your new VoIP service. This allows you to keep using a familiar number that may already be known to customers, friends, family, etc.

Number portability is a significant advantage for small businesses looking to lower their communication costs by switching to a more affordable VoIP provider. It eliminates the disruption and inconvenience of changing phone numbers, ensuring a seamless transition.

The porting process should be straightforward, whether you’re moving from a traditional plain old telephone service (POTS) or another VoIP provider. However, if your current provider refuses to port your number, the FCC recommends contacting your local public utilities commission as a last resort.

Why Port Your VoIP Number

Porting your existing phone number unlocks several benefits when switching VoIP services:

Why get a VoIP phone number

The benefits of porting your number are significant. You’ll experience a smooth transition, all while getting set up quickly with your new VoIP provider. For both individuals and businesses, porting your number makes switching providers a hassle-free experience.

How Does VoIP Number Porting Work?

There are a few things you should know before starting the VoIP porting process. Here’s how VoIP porting typically works:

1) Contact your new VoIP provider about porting numbers

When signing up with a new VoIP provider like Nextiva, inform them that you need to port your existing phone number(s) over. This may need to be specified in the contract and could involve an additional porting fee from some providers.

Just to be clear — there’s no charge to port your number to Nextiva. 

2) Maintain your current phone service

Do not cancel your existing phone service until after the port is completed. This avoids any interruption in service during the porting process. If a quick transition is needed, ask your new VoIP provider for temporary numbers to forward calls while the port is pending.

3) Provide account details for a Letter of Agency (LOA)

Your current/old provider requires a Letter of Agency (LOA) authorization to verify and approve the number port request. You’ll need to provide accurate account information like account numbers, PINs, tax IDs, etc. Have recent billing statements ready.

4) Comply with porting requirements

There are typical porting requirements like the numbers being active, no pending orders on the lines, accounting for any outstanding balances, service frozen for some time, etc. The new and old providers coordinate the technical aspects.

5) Port processing timeline

The porting process timeline can vary but generally takes 5-7 business days for simple ports once all requirements are met. More complex ports with multiple numbers or toll-free numbers could take 4-6 weeks.

6) Port completion

Once the port is completed successfully, the phone numbers are now active on the new VoIP service. You can cancel the old service after testing the ported numbers.

    Proper planning, maintaining your existing service until completion, and providing accurate account data ensure a smooth VoIP number porting process with minimal disruption.

    What you'll need to port your VoIP number:

    Requirements and Considerations for Porting

    Here are some key points to consider before porting your VoIP number:

    Once you’ve signed the contract, you’ll need to provide your new vendor with a list of information so they can begin the phone number porting process.

    Challenges With VoIP Number Porting 

    While porting phone numbers should be a straightforward process, sometimes hiccups can occur. You may face two main types of issues when porting numbers.

    1) Your number isn’t portable

    These are significant problems that inhibit you from porting your phone number. While the FCC requires numbers to be portable, there are a few exceptions that could occur:

    If you find yourself in one of these situations, unfortunately, you’ll have to find an alternative to porting your number or select a new one.

    2) Other errors that may occur

    The second set of problems that may arise are generally fixable, albeit sometimes time-consuming. These issues include:

    The good news is that while most of these issues are inconvenient, the porting process is generally not impossible with some additional effort. Clear communication with your new and old providers can help resolve many of these challenges.

    *Digital Subscriber Line. “Dry loop DSL” is a telephone line without an associated dial tone.

    Choosing a New VoIP Provider

    Moving your phone numbers to a new system shouldn’t be a headache. Here’s how to pick the perfect VoIP phone system for a smooth transition and long-term communication success:

    Port Your Numbers With Nextiva

    Nextiva product shot

    VoIP number porting is a convenient way to maintain your existing phone number when switching VoIP providers. You get seamless customer communication and avoid the hassle of updating contact information.

    Understand the benefits, processes, and considerations involved when porting your number.

    Above all choose the best VoIP provider for your needs. Nextiva’s VoIP phone system offers a wealth of new features, greater functionality, and friendly and helpful customer service.

    Work with a proven VoIP service provider, like Nextiva, to ensure a streamlined, successful porting process.

    Experience the reliability and clarity of Nextiva VoIP.

    Get your questions answered and see how Nextiva can help you easily port your numbers.

    VoIP Number Porting FAQs

    Why would I want to port my number to VoIP?

    There are several reasons to port your number:
    – Cost savings: VoIP services often offer cheaper rates compared to traditional phone lines.
    – Features: VoIP providers typically offer a wider range of features like voicemail to email, video conferencing, and call forwarding.
    – Flexibility: You can use your phone number from anywhere with an internet connection, making it ideal for remote work or travel.

    How long does it take to port a number to VoIP?

    Porting phone numbers should be a simple process. Phone number porting takes between 2–4 weeks to complete.

    In the meantime, you should still have access to your phones and be able to place inbound and outbound calls. Your new VoIP phone provider will communicate the next steps and inform you when the number will port over.

    Porting toll-free (800, 866, 888, etc.) numbers can take longer. Your service should not be interrupted during this time.

    Is it possible to port any type of phone number?

    Most landline and business phone numbers can be ported to another VoIP service. However, some exceptions might exist, so it’s always best to check with your providers.

    How much does VoIP number porting cost?

    Some carriers might charge a fee for releasing your phone number. Others like Nextiva don’t charge you anything extra to port numbers with them. Check with both your current provider and the new VoIP service about any potential porting fees.

    Can a VoIP number be ported to a cell phone?

    If the area code of your VoIP number matches the coverage area of your cell phone provider, then porting is usually straightforward. However, if they don’t match (e.g., you have a VoIP number with a California area code but live in New York), your cell phone carrier might require you to choose a new local number. This is because they may not have the infrastructure to support VoIP numbers outside their service area.

    Not all cell phone providers offer VoIP number porting. Check with your specific carrier to confirm their policy on VoIP number portability before you initiate the process. They might have a tool on their website to verify if your number can be ported.

    Jeremiah Zerby


    Jeremiah Zerby

    Jeremiah Zerby is a marketing specialist at Nextiva. He spent three years on the front lines of technical support, troubleshooting internet and VoIP topics. He moved forward into the technical writing and content creation space. He’s helped set up hundreds of businesses and advised thousands of people with their cloud communications.

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