A few days ago, we let you know five number porting tools your VoIP provider should be using. But wait! There's more! Continuing with the subject of number porting, today we're sharing 10 easy steps for a successful number port. Follow along to find out how number porting is done when it's done right!
1) Is the number portable? - The first task you should do is check with your new provider, also know as the winning carrier, to see if your number is portable. Most reputable providers have a simple tool that allows you to test your number for portability. If they don’t, you can ask the winning carrier if your number is portable.
2) Get a phone bill from the current provider - The phone bill will provide a variety of information; the services purchased, the numbers associated to this account, main account contact info, the service address (not the billing address), and the BTN (billing telephone number).
3) Identify the BTN (billing telephone number) - The BTN is very important because it is your account identifier. It is used as a reference point to organize all of your services. It also is used by your provider for billing purposes. Porting this number away will orphan all remaining numbers and services and possibly cause a service disruption.
4) Obtain the CSR (customer service record) from the losing carrier - Getting the CSR is hit or miss depending on whom your current provider is. If your current provider is a CLEC (competitive local exchange) or ILEC (incumbent local exchange) carrier, you should be able to get your CSR. If the CSR or copy of the bill is not available, provide the account number in a porting note.
5) Complete the Winning Carriers LOA (letter of authorization) - The LOA is what gives the winning carrier permission to request your number from the losing carrier. Most providers use a paper LOA, which needs to be completed, signed, and faxed. This cumbersome method leaves a greater chance of errors, so choose a carrier with an online LOA submission tool.
6) Review your LOA – Prior to submitting your LOA, it is critical to review to ensure the BTN, address information, CSR, and all other information has been correctly added to the LOA. Any mistake, no matter how minor, will most likely be rejected by the losing carrier delaying your number port.
7) Submit your LOA - Once the LOA is submitted, you wait for a response from the winning carrier. Typically, carriers will have a very manual process for submitting a port request and it is recommended that you follow up with a live worker to verify your submission.
8) The Carrier’s Response - Your LOA submission could have three outcomes: FOC (firm order commitment), Jeopardy, or cancelled. The FOC date is simply the date at which the losing carrier agrees to release the number and the winning carrier agrees to pick-up the number. If you receive a Jeopardy notification, this means your port request was rejected because of incorrect information. There are many different types of Jeopardy codes, click here to see a list of the most common codes. Receiving a cancellation confirmation from the winning carrier typically indicates that they are unable to port numbers for that particular rate center or geographical location.
9) FOC (firm order commitment) Date Assignment – Once your port request has been assigned a FOC date you should start your onsite preparation to ensure little-to-no down time when the number ports on the assigned FOC date.
10) Perform Number Testing – Once the number has ported to the winning carrier and is no longer in service with the losing carrier, you will want to perform a few simple test calls. Make a few inbound and outbound calls to test connectivity as well as call quality.
This is what successful number porting looks like. If you've gone through it before, was your situation flawless like this? If you're shaking your head like you're watching a super fast ping pong match, then it may be time to seek out a new VoIP provider who would pass the number porting test! Hint, hint--that will be our next post so be on the lookout for it!