We are thankful that the FCC attempts to regulate the porting process to protect businesses large and small, but regulation is never enough to ensure carriers work effectively with one another, let alone work fairly with smaller non-carrier service providers. The complexities and risk can be tamed, however, with a careful, thoughtful approach to porting and how systems will effectively operate during the transitions.
NoJitter recently published a great article by Beth English – “Porting from DID to SIP” – that laid a solid foundation around navigating the porting process. After reading the article we felt we could add to this important dialog around port planning as part of a large telecom migration project. With years of experience migrating VoIP projects of all sizes, Flowroute has defined some best practices to help reduce the variability and stress that typically comes along with the porting process. Below are the key elements of porting we recommend our customers think about to mitigate the challenging, opaque and sometimes painful process .
Porting is not one size fits all.
When it comes to porting DID phone numbers, what is right for your neighbor might not be right for you. We are reminded that there are a number of variables to consider when porting from your existing carrier to a new carrier.
Option 1: Port Late
Waiting to port your numbers until you have migrated to your new system can give your IT team more time to become comfortable with the new system before porting. However, it also requires you to build a link between your old carrier and your new system until you decide to port the numbers. While this option works, you are keeping your numbers with a carrier who knows they are losing you as a customer, and you risk running into complications from the transition at the very end of the process.
Option 2: Port in the Middle
In this case, you would begin setting up your new system and then choose a point in time at which to port your numbers in the midst of making the transition from new to old. There is rarely a reason to add the stress of porting into the middle of a project.
Option 3: Port Early
By giving control to your new carrier earlier in the process, you ensure that you are not going to run into unexpected hiccups later on. Keep in mind that you can port your numbers over to a new carrier and to ensure service continuity, calls can be forwarded back to non-published DIDs on the former carriers network for as long as needed. This eliminates the worry that you will have to migrate to your new system more quickly than you are prepared to. As users are migrated to the new system, call-forwarding can be removed so that calls land on the new system.
A good carrier makes all the difference.
Regardless of when you choose to port, there are a few things that will always hold true.
Port out once: It is always recommended that you port all your numbers at once. This will help streamline the porting process and decrease the back and forth with the current service provider.
Test, test, test: Testing your new system early with numbers provided by your new carrier or numbers you have ported over will help avoid potential issues at launch.
Choose the right carrier. You will likely have more control over your numbers with a good SIP carrier than you do with a legacy carrier, so the earlier you can get your numbers to your new SIP carrier the better.
We work with individuals and companies every day to ensure their implementation plans are not disrupted by the antiquated and varied port out processes of legacy carriers. If you’ve chosen wisely with your new carrier, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.