a blog from CenturyLink

Number porting for small businesses

by | Dec 14, 2021


Your small business’s phone number is one of the most important lines of communication between you and your customers or clients. Loyal customers often save business numbers on their phone, so changing your number could lead to confusion or even lost business. You may also use your number on physical branding materials that can be difficult and expensive to change, such as large signs or business cards. For all these reasons, you may not want to change your business phone number if you have to change phone providers.

Luckily, when you switch to a new phone provider, you can usually maintain your original phone number through a process called number porting. Number porting allows you to keep your phone number and avoid updating all of your marketing materials. But it doesn’t happen automatically. Keep reading to learn how to port a number from start to finish.

Business owner chats on the phone with a client while he takes notes.

What is number porting?

Number porting is the process of moving an existing phone number from one service provider to a new provider. Number porting is often associated with mobile numbers and carriers, but the same process can apply to business phone numbers.

You might need to port your business phone number for several reasons. If your current phone provider doesn’t offer competitive rates, you may want to switch to a better deal. You also might want to switch to a provider that offers better features or VoIP solutions. Numbers can be ported between wireless, IP and wired services, so you can transfer your number even if you switch the type of service. If you plan to move your small business, you also might want to maintain your number rather than switch to a new area code.

An employee works in an open office plan while she chats on the phone.

How to port your business’s number

Check that your number is portable

Before you begin porting your number, you need to check if the number is portable. You can either ask your current provider or check your contract to see if your number is eligible. It’s also important to be sure you won’t be charged fees or penalties if you terminate your contract early. In most situations, your business number will be portable. However, if your new provider doesn’t have an agreement with your current one, you may not be able to port your number.

Contact your new provider

Once you’ve determined your number is portable, you’ll need to contact your new provider to let them know you want to port your number. You’ll need a copy of your recent phone bill, as it contains the necessary information for porting your number. Account details, billing number, service address and other phone numbers associated with the account will allow your new provider to successfully port your number.

Fill out a number request

After contacting your new phone provider, they should tell you how to proceed. The process will vary by service provider, as many providers now use online portals. Depending on your provider, you may need to fill out a number request form, which enables your new provider to request your business number from your old provider. The form allows you to transfer responsibility for the phone number to your new provider. You’ll be able to complete this form using the information found on your recent phone bill as well. Some providers may not require this step and will only need a Letter of Authorization.

Send a letter to your new provider

Send a Letter of Authorization to your new provider to give them the authority to port your number and obtain necessary information. Typically, your new provider will supply you with this letter to fill out, which can often be found in your online account. Once your new provider receives the completed letter, they’ll review the request and either begin the porting process or reject your request.

Your request may be rejected if your number isn’t portable or you haven’t provided the right information about your account. If your request is rejected, you’ll be told why and may be able to resubmit your request.

A woman confirms her number is ported with her phone provider at work.

Final thoughts

The number porting process takes between three to ten days and your phone service will remain active during that time. You should not cancel service with your original phone provider until after you receive confirmation that your number has been successfully ported.

Your business phone system is an essential form of communication to keep in contact with your customers or clients. At CenturyLink, we offer small business phone services with a crystal-clear connection and a range of features. From landline phone services to VoIP, CenturyLink can help you find the right phone solution for your small business.

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