What Is Number Porting, & What Do You Need To Know?

Number porting is a process that allows you to keep the same phone number, even when you change your phone provider. Number porting can be carried out on your mobile phone or a landline phone, but also in business communication, where there are obvious benefits to keeping the same phone number.

Some phone service providers may charge a fee for phone number porting. This is more common for business number transfers, landline transfers, and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) transfers.

Why would I be looking to port a number? The advantages of phone number porting 

Number porting is a handy way for businesses to keep their existing phone numbers in a few different ways.


Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected a great many businesses, lots of organisations still have central offices. You can hold on to your business or VoIP number when you relocate and keep the specific area code too. A phone number can be redirected far more easily than adopting a new one across all of your business communications. Things like email signatures, marketing materials, client databases, contact details and more all need to be updated if you have a new phone number.

Second of all, a phone number will tie you to a certain location or physical address in the eyes of customers. You may want to maintain the presence of a number with a local area code. If you’re moving offices, your number will reflect your new office location, rather than your target market area.

The same holds true when opening other offices – in different locations or with a new team. A fixed number for your whole company and all its offices allows you to maintain your business ranking, status, and brand presence. 

Connectivity & standard of service

If you’re unhappy with your current provider’s level of connectivity and it is causing you issues, you may want to change providers. Number porting allows you to do all of this without the difficulty of changing phone numbers. 


The telecoms industry is a very competitive one, and there are often competitor providers offering packages or deals to new customers. If your current service provider is not offering you good value, then number porting makes it very simple to switch to a new provider.

Capacity and the needs of your business

If you haven’t changed your phone provider in a while, it may be that it no longer matches the needs of your business, which have likely changed over the last few years. When it comes to telephone call handling for your business, the number of calls you need to handle, the number of staff who answer the phones, the scope of your phone calls and the different features needed on your phone lines can all impact your bottom line. If you find your phone provider isn’t managing your needs appropriately, phone porting allows you to find a new provider that works for you quickly and easily. 

What’s involved in the porting process?

Porting a number means that the previous provider hands over the responsibility of terminating the phone number to the new provider. To make this possible, there needs to be a ‘porting agreement’ between the two networks. The network operators for both communications providers must also establish a “number portability transport path”.

You may have ported a mobile phone number before when switching networks. In this instance, you’ll receive a PAC code from your current provider to give to your new provider, and then the mobile network carrier (or carriers) will handle the rest. When porting a landline or business number, the process is much the same, except it is handled entirely by your phone network.

FAQs: Everything you need to know about number porting 

Why would my business number not be portable?

While it’s not common, there are some instances where your business phone number might not be portable.

If you’ve already cancelled your service with your old provider before porting, your number will be deemed inactive. This means your current provider can then assign it to a new customer, rather than keeping it with you. Alternatively, your new supplier might not have a porting agreement with your old one. However, when working with most big telecom providers in the UK, this is very unlikely.

How long does it take to port a number?

Porting a phone number takes one or two business days in most cases. If you are porting over the weekend, you might have to wait a little longer.

If you’re switching from wireline to wireless phone connection (such as a standard landline to VoIP phone system), it can take a little longer – up to a week. However, once you’ve sent the instruction to transfer your number, this will be handled by both communications providers involved, and you shouldn’t have to do anything else. 

When porting numbers, there is also a chance that there will be some downtime when the number switches. With today’s technology and portability service, however, this downtime is usually minor.

Can I keep my number when switching to VoIP?

Yes, it is possible to carry over your old phone number to a VoIP service provider in most cases. If you want to, you can even transfer multiple numbers. The only real exceptions to this rule are numbers with additional features such as an integrated services digital network (ISDN). If you have any kind of special or unusual phone line, contact the VoIP provider, but for the vast majority of standard lines, this won’t be an issue.

Changing your number to VoIP is simple. Just contact your VoIP service provider, and they will handle the transfer for you. A few instructions and permission to transfer the number will need to be given to your VoIP provider, and you will need to let them know right away that you want to keep your number. Other than that, it should all be handled by your provider.

You may still need a traditional landline connection to ensure that you are connected to the internet. As VoIP uses an internet connection to carry your calls, your phone line won’t work unless you are connected to the internet.

Are there fees for porting?

Sometimes there are fees for porting your phone number. Depending on the communication provider, you may have to pay a porting fee to move your number. However, you can ask if the fees can be waived or negotiated.

It is important to know that once you request service from a new company, your current carrier cannot refuse to port your number. Even if you owe money for an outstanding balance or termination fee, you’ll still be able to switch. You’ll still be liable for any outstanding balance, but no communications provider can prevent you from changing networks once you have created a porting request.

At alldayPA, we have been working in telecommunications for more than 20 years and have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges our clients face when it comes to their phone providers and phone systems. To learn more about our telephone call answering service, what we do, or to speak to our friendly business development team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!