How to transfer an existing number to VoIP in 6 easy steps

To ensure a successful phone number porting process, please collect all of your account information from your previous carrier. Your new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider will need these details to verify your account. Be sure to follow the provider’s instructions and wait until the process is complete. After porting, try your phone number and cancel your old service. In this article, we dive into a detailed discussion on how to port an existing number to VoIP.

If you’re looking for a full-featured VoIP provider that offers free number porting, check out RingCentral. Ports most landline, wireless, and toll-free phone numbers in the US and allows porting of 100+ numbers from the same carrier. All you need is your personal identification number (PIN) and account number, and RingCentral will cover the cost of porting your number from an existing carrier.

Visit RingCentral

A diagram explaining the six steps to transfer an existing number to VoIP

1. Gather account details from your old provider

Having the required information and documents on hand makes the phone number porting process smoother and prevents delays. These details allow your new phone service to verify that you own the number you want to transfer. If you are unsure or do not have these details, please contact your previous provider’s customer service to obtain them.

These are the data and documents necessary to carry out the portability of a number:

  • Your current phone service account number
  • The phone number to the port
  • Your PIN or password
  • The postal and/or physical address indicated for your current number
  • The name of the primary account holder.
  • A copy of your most recent bill
  • Online login information for your business phone services

At this stage, it is important to keep your old phone system in service. Canceling your service before the porting process begins could put you at risk of losing your number.

2. Send the details to your new provider

With your information and documents in hand, it’s time to contact your new provider. In most cases, porting in numbers begins with purchasing a plan and creating an account with the new carrier. In addition to providing the necessary information, you may be required to sign a Letter of Agency (LOA).

They will tell you how to transfer a number to your company and verify that your current number is transferable. This is also a good time to ask about charges for porting a number. Business phone systems like RingCentral and Nextiva will port the number you want to port at no cost to your business. However, Google Voice charges a $20 fee to transfer a mobile number from major carriers like AT&T and Verizon.

The number porting process varies by carrier, but many services require you to call a customer service number to initiate the transfer. Although some companies, like Ooma, allow you to submit a request through the Ooma office manager, we still recommend speaking with a live agent to avoid mistakes that can delay the process.

3. Follow the new provider’s instructions

While your new provider may be able to complete the number porting process for you, you may still need their help. Log in to your new business phone service to access your administrative portal. A representative from your new provider will work with you to start the transfer process, which should only take a few minutes.

4. Wait until the transfer is complete

After applying for number portability, it can take anywhere from two to 30 days to complete the process. Your new carrier will provide a time frame based on the type of number being transferred and the carrier involved.

For example, RingCentral says it takes up to two business days to port in toll-free numbers, while it can take up to a week to port in landline numbers from major carriers. The process varies because your new provider works with your old provider to determine the completion date.

During this time, you may receive a letter from your previous carrier, called a Firm Order Confirmation (FOC), indicating the date the number will be transferred. Your new operator will inform you when the number has been transferred to your account. However, many providers provide updates via email or the administrative portal, so be sure to check them to see if the process is complete.

In the meantime, your new provider will provide you with a temporary number to use the new service while you transfer your business phone number. Take advantage of this time to configure the features of the VoIP system by configuring user settings and downloading the mobile or desktop app. Most vendors include setup and installation instructions.

5. Test your newly ported number

Once you receive confirmation that the number transfer is complete, it’s time to test your new service. Pick up any external phone and dial your company number. If the call rings on your office phone or another device connected to your new service, the transfer was successful. If the call does not go through, contact the customer service line of your new provider.

6. Cancel previous service and pay any debt

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), your current carrier should allow you to transfer your number even if you have an outstanding balance. However, they may refuse to cancel your service until your account is paid in full.

Before you cancel, don’t forget to download any reports or files you want from your old account. Once your account is fully paid and you have downloaded everything you want from your account, you can now request to cancel your old service.

Common Phone Number Transfer Issues

While learning how to port an existing number to VoIP is a pretty straightforward process, you’re bound to run into some issues. Here are common factors that can make the number transfer process difficult and how to resolve them:

Your port-in request may be denied if the account information you provide to your new provider does not match what your current provider has on file. The best you can do is double check that each piece of information you provide is entered correctly.

Some providers may deactivate or block your account if you have not used it for a long period of time. If this happens, please contact your provider to discuss the status of your account. You may need to take additional steps to transfer your number.

A number will take a long time to transfer if it is connected to multiple lines or advanced call control features such as group calls and call forwarding. Make sure there are no additional features attached to your number.

Number portability should only be requested by the primary account holder. To avoid delays, please have the account holder sign the LOA or contact your current provider to update records.

You cannot keep the same number if you move to another geographic location with a different area code. In this case, the new provider will ask you to select a new number. Location issues also occur if the new carrier does not offer coverage in that specific region.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of number portability?

Number porting allows your business to switch to a new phone service without the need to inform your customers of the change, since their phone number remains the same. This allows you to protect your company’s brand image and eliminate unnecessary expense in updating your marketing materials.

What is local number portability?

Local Number Portability (LNP), also known as Local Number Portability, transfers a local phone number from one telecommunications operator to another. However, if you transfer a mobile phone number to a new carrier, it is called Wireless Local Number Portability (WLNP), while transferring phone numbers that are free is called Toll Free Number Portability (TFNP).

Can all phone numbers be ported?

In most cases, any US-based landline, toll-free, or wireless number can be ported. There are certain cases where you may not be able to port a number. Some services in rural areas get a waiver from the FCC, which exempts them from number portability. If number porting isn’t possible, many VoIP providers include a toll-free business phone number when you sign up for their services.

Bottom line

Understanding how to transfer an existing number to VoIP ensures a smoother transfer and reduces the chances of facing some unexpected issues discussed above. To prevent fraud and stolen phone numbers, VoIP providers take significant steps to verify all transfer requests. If you encounter any difficulties, be sure to ask questions of the provider involved to get the support you need.

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