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How to port a phone number

When you sign up for a telephone answering service you often receive a free phone number. You do not need to use this number in place of your existing line. Instead, you can ‘port’ your existing number to your new call answering company. This allows you to keep your number and let your virtual receptionists answer your calls directly.

In this guide we’ll explain what porting is, why it’s necessary and how easy it is to do.

What is porting a number?

Porting your number is the process of changing your communication provider. Some providers charge a fee for this and these costs are often much lower than diverting your calls, which is another alternative. To find out more about diverting, read our How to divert your phone number guide.

Virtually There will never charge you for porting your number to us.

Why change communications providers?

People port their number to save money with an alternative low-cost provider. Businesses mainly port their number to gain the benefits of phone answering services.

In either case, you will need to go through the same porting process in order to transfer your number to the new provider.

What’s involved in the porting process?

Your existing provider needs to transfer responsibility for your number to the new provider. This requires a ‘porting agreement’ between the two providers. Then the transfer is handled between the network operators for both communications providers.

As the user, you will have to fill in a short form declaring your agreement for the port.

How long does it take to port a number?

How long the process takes depends on a number of factors but once you inform the provider of your decision to switch, it usually takes around a month for confirmation of the porting to arrive.

The transfer will be carried out by the providers and you will not be required to do anything more than request your number be changed.

Can I port a mobile number?

Yes. If you tried taking a mobile number with you when changing providers before 2019, you may recall the overly complicated process of acquiring a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code).

Thankfully, this process was simplified by new legislation and you should now be able to receive your PAC via text with no charge and no waiting around.

How to port your number to Virtually There

Right, this is the important bit if you want our virtual receptionists to answer your business calls.

Porting your number is a standard procedure across the industry and requires just a few simple steps:

The process of porting your number from one provider to another is standardised across the industry.

You’ll need to fill out the Virtually There form to provide some basic information such as your current provider and existing number.

The form also acts as your authorisation for the number to be ported to Virtually There. Then simply send the form to us and we’ll take care of the rest.

The process usually takes around 4 – 6 weeks to complete and any downtime will be negligible.

Porting your number may sound like a complicated process but it is mostly carried out by the providers and requires very little of your time.

Paul Sandquest

Head of Marketing

Paul is Head of Marketing at Virtually There and has over a decade of experience supporting businesses across the globe.

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