Today, many companies and individuals understand the benefits switching to VoIP has to offer. Compared to landlines, VoIP systems can save you a good chunk of change, unify all your communication systems in one place, and provide you with tons of valuable features.
However, you might be worried that if you switch to VoIP, you will lose the phone number you’ve had for years. Will you have to reach out to all your contacts and ask them to replace your number? What if you are a company, and have spent years building your brand using your landline phone number? Surely you don’t want to lose those connections.
The next question you’ll likely ask is, “Can I switch my landline phone number to VoIP?” Luckily, most providers allow “porting,” or switching landline numbers to VoIP. However, there’s some things you should know about the transition before you get started. We’re here to help by sharing everything you need to know about switching your phone number to VoIP.
What is Phone Number Portability?
Phone number portability – or “porting” – essentially means transferring your old phone number to a new phone system. This means you will be able to use the brand new features of the best phone system on the market, but your contacts will be able to reach you at the same phone number. This creates a convenient transition for people who want to upgrade their system without the hassle of changing the phone number they’ve had for years.
Can I Port My Phone Number to VoIP?
Yes! Luckily, several years ago the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required VoIP providers to allow their customers to port their phone numbers, as long as it’s possible. Most of the time, your VoIP provider will be able to help you make this transition. So whether you are switching over to a hosted or cloud-based phone system, you will likely be able to carry over your current phone number.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are moving to a new geographical area, it’s possible you will not be able to retain your prior phone number and area code. Additionally, some providers in rural areas may have portability requirements waived. This means that if you live in a rural area, your previous landline provider may not be able to port your number to VoIP. To find out if your number can be ported, you can contact your state’s Public Utilities Commision, or ask your new VoIP provider for guidance.
How Much Does it Cost?
Costs for porting your phone number will vary. Many VoIP providers will port your number for free when signing up with their service. Others will charge a one-time fee, and some will charge a monthly fee to continue using your ported number.
It’s also important to note that according to the FCC, your landline provider legally must allow you to port your number, whether or not you have an outstanding balance with them.
The way to get the best price when porting your phone number is to call a few different VoIP providers and ask them for quotes. Then, you can compare and contrast your options before signing up.
How Long will the Process Take?
Sometimes if you are porting just one number to VoIP the process can take as little as one business day or less. It depends on how busy your VoIP provider is at the time.
Porting toll-free numbers usually takes longer. Also, if you are porting multiple lines to your new VoIP system, it may take several business days due to the larger scope of the project. Your best bet is to factor in up to two weeks, to be safe.
|Provider||Estimated Time to Port||Cost|
|8×8||8 calendar days or less|
2-5 weeks for toll-free
|Ooma||3-4 weeks||One-time $39.99 fee|
Free when starting Ooma Premier contract
|Ring Central||7-10 business days||Free|
How Do I Get Started?
Although many believe transferring a landline number to VoIP is complicated, it’s actually a simple process! To get started porting your landline to a new VoIP system, follow these steps:
- Do not cancel service with your prior phone provider
To port a telephone number to a VoIP system, you will need to contact your original phone provider and request to transfer the number. This means that your phone number must still be connected and “in-service” before porting.
- Take note of your account information with landline provider
When calling your original provider to request a port, you will also want to make sure you know your account information with that provider. Jot down your account holder name, account number, address, and phone number linked to the account. When signing up for your new VoIP service, you will want to use this same information.
- Research VoIP services that accept ported numbers
Most VoIP providers now accept ported numbers. However, you will want to make sure your chosen VoIP provider will be able to help you transfer your number over. VoIP providers will usually look up your particular phone number to make sure it’s eligible to port.
- Sign up with new provider
The next step is signing up for your new VoIP system, and asking the new provider to help you initiate the porting process while doing so. Let the new provider know as soon as possible that you will be starting a contract with a ported number. This way, they will process the number with your account as they start your service.
When signing up, use the same account information as you used with your prior landline account. This is important to avoid a rejected port and delaying the porting process. Many times, you can also ask your new provider to transfer other information from your old account, such as stored contacts.
- Ask when your new account will be active
The last thing to do is ask your new provider when your account will go active. This is important, because you will want to wait to turn off your old landline account until your new account is ready. Once implemented, test your new VoIP system to make sure you are able to operate it properly.
- Cancel your old account
Once your new account is active and you are comfortable with using it, you can call your prior provider and cancel your account. Now, you’re ready to use your new VoIP system with your same phone number!
Remember that your providers are required to allow you to port your number by law. If your request to port your phone number is denied, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
To learn more about why your business can benefit from VoIP, check out our VoIP for business infographic. To get started comparing quotes from the top VoIP providers, 360Connect can help. Our free service gives you up to 5 options to compare with no obligation to buy!