One of the biggest concerns we hear from our valued customers is about how to move a business phone number, either to a new location, to an NBN service, or from an old provider to a new one.
The truth is, it can be complicated, but if you get the right advice and have a supportive provider, most of the hassle should be taken entirely out of your hands and any inconvenience should be managed to minimise interruption to your business as much as possible.
This article is going to look at the steps you need to take to move your telephone number, and also answer some of our most frequently asked questions when moving a business phone number for customers.
The Two Types of Number Porting
The term used to describe moving your phone number from one service or location to another is called ‘number porting’. There are two types of number porting, Category A and Category C.
Category A (Simple Number Porting)
This term is used when you are moving a single telephone number (usually from a traditional copper/PSTN service) to a new NBN/VoIP based phone service, and is the most simple type of port.
Category C (Complex Number Porting)
This term is used when you are transferring more than one NBN/VoIP based telephone number to a new carrier or provider. It is a more complex process than a Category A number port.
The reason we’ve included the types of number porting first is that, depending on which type you are completing, it will take a different amount of time. Category A ports are simpler and will generally take between 4-6 business days to complete, whereas a Category C number port can take up to 4-6 weeks. Your carrier should help you find ways to manage any potential interruptions to your business during these times.
For more on the types of number porting checkout this blog post here.
Will I definitely be able to keep my phone number when switching to a new provider?
In most cases, yes! But not a service providers have porting agreements, which means that active services on their networks cannot be moved to other providers. We can’t provide a list of these service providers, but if this does become an issue it is flagged during the porting process and you will be notified in time to find a new provider.
How to Port Your Business Phone Number
Step One – Contact your new provider
The first thing you need to do is to contact your new phone service carrier. This may be your existing carrier if you are porting from a PSTN phone line to an NBN/VoIP line.
When you have made contact, your new carrier will submit a porting request to your old carrier, which is essentially asking permission to take your phone number from their old service and attach it to their own. You will have to pay a fee.
Note: Do not cancel your phone number with your old carrier while the number porting process is going on through, as you still need an active service with your old provider for your new provider to request it.
Step Two – Remove all complex services from the existing line
For a port request to be completed quickly and without complication, you will need to remove all complex services from your existing phone line.
Many people are often confused about what this means, but it basically refers to anything attached to your phone line. Examples include associated services like PSTN line hunt, ISDN auxiliary’s, additional number ranges, and DOT services, as well as complex services such as ADSL service attached to the line or an incompatible product type (for example, if you were to try to port only a fax line in a fax duet service).
If you are unsure about any of these, it’s important to get in touch with your existing provider before your new provider attempts a porting request.
Step Three – Make sure all of your information is correct
When completing a port request form, it is absolutely crucial that all of the information you provide is correct, otherwise you may face a rejection. If this happens, your new provider will have to submit a new port request, which means you will incur another fee.
The information you need to be certain about is your service number, account number, and business/customer name and address. Some providers will also require additional information, including your Australian Business Number and your date of birth.
Step Four – Completing the port
This can be frustrating, but your provider should keep you in the loop and let you know how the number port request is progressing.
When the port has been completed, your business will experience downtime where there is no phone service whatsoever. This cannot be avoided, but it usually only lasts between 15 minutes and 1 hour. Your provider will use this time to deal with any issues that may arise during the port completion process, the reconnection of services on the new platform, and to close off the order ticket on both ends.
Why would my port request be rejected?
Yes, it can. There are a number of reasons your request may be rejected. Most commonly it is because information provided on the port request is incomplete or incorrect, which is why it’s so important to get it right the first time.
Other issues include:
- You have not disconnected associated or complex services, such a PSTN line hunt, ADSL services attached to the line, or fax duet services.
- Your service is disconnected or pending disconnection – this include services that are ‘cease sale’ due to the NBN, services that have a disconnection order raised by the customer, and services that have changed to prepaid redirections (in which there is a pending order for disconnection after the paid diversion timeframe).
- Pending port/pending services – for example, if you wish to port a line from Line hunt and submit a port and change order in conjunction with each other
Can the porting process be speed up?
The porting process cannot be made faster, however, you can avoid extra timeframes and hassles by making sure that everything is in order before the port request. Your new provider should ask you a lot of questions to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Below is a list of such questions, and it might be handy to print it off and run each item by the salesperson you talk to when discussing your number porting request:
- What service do you currently have?
- Does the phone service belong to you under their business name they have requested an account for?
- Is there any associated services to this number? – ADSL, Line hunt, etc.
- Does the customer require the associated services ?
- Can they be disassociated?
- If so, how will my business be affected during port?
If you are asked all of these questions, the salesperson should be able to determine whether you need to disassociate any services from the phone line, or if you will require anything extra to get you through the porting process successfully.
There is no uniform way to simplify the process for everyone, as each business has a different setup under different circumstances.
While it isn’t something we’ve all got the time to understand inside-out, number porting is not something you can ignore when it comes to relocating your business or moving to a new service or provider. This article has provided you with a step-by-step guide, and your chosen provider should also offer you a lot of guidance during the process.
Unfortunately, number porting is a complicated but extremely important part of communications for any business, especially now that the NBN is bringing changes to everyone in Australia. But, while the NBN can’t be avoided, it doesn’t have to be as confusing at it seems to be. We’ve created a comprehensive Small Business Guide to the NBN for customers just like you, who want to get the most out of the NBN with as little hassle as possible.
If you have any further questions about any of the information in this article, don’t hesitate to call our friendly team at Infiniti We love giving advice, whether you are one of our customers or not.