Local Number Portability (LNP) is the ability of a phone service user to retain their local phone number upon deciding to change their phone service provider. It is also known simply as Portability, Porting or transfer.
Whether you think of it as easy or complicated, there are many things to know about this process. Indeed, a seamless porting process depends a lot on your new phone service provider and its efficiency, but it’s important for you to know that there are also aspects that are dependent of your former provider, and last but not least, it depends on you too.
This guide will teach you all you need to know about Number Portability and the steps you need to take to ensure that your number will be transferred without issues.
How to initiate the porting process
In order to transfer your number to another provider you just need to contact them and select your new service. They will provide you with the instructions on how to proceed, as in ask for an invoice from your previous carrier and send you a Letter of Authorization that you will be requested to sign.
Authorizing your new provider to transfer your number
For your telecom provider to be able to port your number, they will require a Letter of Authorization (LOA) signed by your representative. To avoid delays caused by your request being rejected, you need to:
- Writing your phone numbers correctly on the request;
- Enter the address correctly, as it is showed on the invoice/ account details of the current provider;
- Ensure that the authorized contact who signs the LOA is the same person listed in your current provider’s records;
- Ensure that you provide your account number and/ or password if you’re porting your number from a wireless service.
If these details don’t show up on your invoice or in your online account, we recommend contacting your current provider to ask about the account details before filling out the LOA.
Why would your porting get rejected and what you need to do
The delay of your porting might be frustrating and could even affect your budget if you need to pay both providers. A lot of times the providers are considered responsible for the delays, but it’s not always like that. Here are some of the most important reasons for which your porting could get rejected:
- Account details mismatch
It is possible that your provider submitted the incorrect information, but this could also be due to the information provided by you. This is why it’s important to follow the steps above correctly, because most of the rejections for account details mismatch are due to different information being entered in the LOA, for example the phone number (when your business has multiple numbers), putting the numbered company instead of the company name or vice versa, the personal name instead of business name, or the incorrect account representative.
- Address mismatch
The address on the LOA must be the same address that your provider has on file. If your porting has been rejected for address mismatch and your provider submitted the same information you entered, you will need to ask the current provider what your address is in their records. However, according to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA- the regulatory authority in South Africa) the carriers must reject the request if the Street Number or Street Name is incorrect, but accept it if just smaller details such as a Suite number, Floor or Unit are missing or are incorrect.
- Stranded services
“Stranded services” means that there is a request or a setting on your account that does not allow the current provider to release your number. Your porting request will be rejected if you have a move / upgrade/ downgrade request on the account, if your service is suspended for non-payment or breaking the carrier’s Terms and Conditions, or if another active service depends on it (such as having the same number for your voice but also as a reference number – GAS – for your Internet connection). In these cases you will be required to contact your current provider and settle the situation (either pay the outstanding invoices, add a different GAS number for your Internet, or cancel the ongoing change/ move requests). Keep in mind however that the ICASA rulings do not allow carriers to reject a port-out request if the service has been suspended on demand (by you); if you have change requests related to features or listings, the regulatory authority leaves it up to the carriers to decide if they reject the request or not; if you are in a contract the provider cannot reject the port, however they are entitled to charge you penalty fees for breaking the contract.
Last and actually the most important aspect is that your porting request might be rejected for Number Inactive, so it’s crucial that you don’t cancel your number before you make a porting request to your new carrier. If it’s been done already, what you need to do is to contact the former provider and see if you could reactivate your number. Most providers keep the numbers in quarantine (not assigned) for 3-6 months before re-assigning them so that other customers don’t get unwanted calls, so you should be able to retake your number.
A professional business phone service provider will give you all the above information prior to porting your number, will communicate with you throughout the entire process and will give you valuable advice if the porting request doesn’t go as planned.