It’s easy to understand why you would want to take your previous number (or numbers) with you when you moved to a VoIP service. That’s the number that your customers and contacts you have built up, perhaps over many years, will have coded into their contact lists. Changing your number would mean informing everyone – and paying for a redirect service while everyone got their records up to date. Simply moving the existing landline phone number across is the easiest option.
Moving your number is easy enough – but before you do anything else, make certain that you talk to your new VoIP supplier and understand the process they have for porting numbers. You should then simply follow their instructions. That way, things should run smoothly.
It is also important to be aware that if you are moving to a new VoIP supplier, you will still need a broadband or other connection over which it can run. It may be that your broadband and phone line are currently on the same contract. You may not need to keep the phone number with that connection after you have switched to VoIP, but you might still need the broadband.Back to top
Can I port my phone number to VoIP?
Yes, in all but the rarest of exceptions, it is possible to take your old number with you to a VoIP service. You can even take multiple numbers if you need to. The only real exceptions are numbers with special features, such as ISDN. If you have some kind of special or unusual voice line, check with the VoIP supplier, but for standard lines, there will be no issue.
It is really simple to transfer your number to VoIP; you just ask your VoIP service provider, and they will take care of it for you. You may have to issue a few instructions and give them permission to transfer the number, but that’s about it. You just need to make sure your new VoIP provider knows that you want to take your current number with you from the outset. When you first sign-up they should ask you about this anyway. There may be a small additional charge, but many will provide number porting as part of the set-up.Back to top
Can I port my landline to VoIP?
No. In fact, you may still need it. We tend to use the terms ‘phone line’ and ‘landline’ as synonyms. In fact, the phone line (and associated number) is a service that runs over the physical landline. While you will want to transfer the service – and along with it, your number – you can’t physically transfer your landline.
What you pay for really, is for that landline to be activated and maintained, so that the phone line – and your broadband too – can run across it. And it is for that specific reason you may still need your landline. You will need broadband, or some other form of digital connection, to the Internet to carry your VoIP service.Back to top
What is phone number portability?
The VoIP provider will take care of the switch for you. Once they have proper authorisation, they will contact the landline provider and instruct them to relinquish control on the day that your new VoIP service is due to start. The VoIP provider will then allocate that number to your particular VoIP line. All of this is done in software, so essentially, it’s really a quite simple process from a customer perspective.
It is really important point that you do not cancel or try to terminate your existing phone service before you know that you have lined-up the new VoIP service and understood the VoIP supplier’s process for number porting. If you end the current service before you set up the VoIP contract, you’ll lose your number, which is the last thing you’d want. Basically, the rule here is to follow the new VoIP provider’s instructions to the letter.
You also need to be aware that if you are not out of contract with your phone services provider, you may incur an early termination charge. But if you still need the broadband, you may need to keep the contract anyway.Back to top
How long does it take to port my phone number?
The time it takes to port a number to VoIP can vary, but It usually takes up to 10 working days. But the VoIP provider will take care of it all and, hopefully, keep you informed throughout. If everything goes according to plan, it should all happen, automatically, on the day your VoIP service goes live. From that point on, anyone dialling your number will be redirected to the VoIP service provider and subsequently connected to your number.
It’s perhaps worth checking with your provider that everything is looking OK a few days before, just in case you need to chase up your previous phone service provider, or anything has been over-looked.
It’s a good idea to test out the number as soon as the service is meant to be switched on – you can do that simply by dialling the number from a mobile.Back to top
How to get started
This is perhaps the only bit of work you will need to do. Once your account is set up, your new provider may ask you to go online and fill in some details of the number you want to transfer and the required timings. The system should then give you an estimate of when it can all happen. It’s important to do this right away if you want the transfer to happen as soon as possible. You may also need to complete and sign or digitally endorse an official letter giving the VoIP provider authority to claim the number.
Once you have done all of that, the number should be switched over when your new VoIP service goes live. If you are at all worried about this, your VoIP provider or trusted third party reseller will help you and may even walk you through it.
If you are at all unsure about any part of the process, it’s good to have a trusted third party provider who will manage the whole business for you, and make sure that you can successfully transfer your phone number to the new VoIP service.Back to top