When the telephone industry was deregulated nearly 20 years ago, new service providers began popping up everywhere. Consumers had the freedom to choose their communication service provider (CSP) as well as their pricing, but could not retain their established numbers when changing providers. Number porting, or local number portability (LNP), was created to change that.
What goes on behind the scenes of number porting? Is it as straightforward as it seems? We sat down with Kayla, a member of Flowroute’s dedicated porting team, to answer common questions customers have about the porting process.
Why do businesses port phone numbers?
Porting allows businesses to transfer numbers between their chosen carriers, allowing them to avoid the high costs of new numbers, updated marketing, ads, and brand collateral. One of the main reasons organizations and companies opt to port their numbers is to keep the number they and/or their customers have been using for years. Part of a company’s brand recognition comes from its phone number. So, if a business has purchased and used a number for thirty years and invested in advertising that leverages the phone number, they will likely want to continue using that number.
Additionally, if customers have shared business cards or know numbers by heart, changing the number can dishevel sales pipelines and harm customer retention. Rather than spending copious amounts of money and time printing new business cards and rebranding marketing and advertising assets, companies can port numbers with minimal to no charge from Flowroute.
What should customers expect when porting with Flowroute?
Whenever a customer wants to sign up with Flowroute, they can go to our user-friendly online portal and create a profile. In the portal, customers can either create a port order or check number portability. The process is fairly straightforward, but if there are ever any questions, help is available online at support.flowroute.com or in person using Flowroute’s support ticketing system.
Can all numbers be ported?
The short answer is no, and if someone tells you otherwise, you should be cautious. There are certain rate centers that are protected and regions where coverage is not established. However, Flowroute’s coverage map is always expanding, so it’s likely that if a number isn’t portable now, it will be in the future. Additionally, Flowroute’s HyperNetwork™ unifies some of the largest telecommunications and IP networks to create an optimal network of reliable connections, lending to an extensive coverage area.
How long does porting take?
Once a porting request is submitted, it moves from pending status (where the customer is free to make any adjustments to numbers or customer’s information) to processing, which is when it’s brought to the attention of Flowroute’s porting team.
The porting team will then take the information the customer submitted and send it to the losing service provider (LSP). Depending on the LSP, this can be done automatically through the carrier’s online portal or manually via email. This begins a process of communication between Flowroute’s team and that of the LSP.
Throughout this process, Flowoute’s porting team will provide the customer with updates via the port order found in Flowroute’s system. Anytime during the process, customers can access the status of their port orders through Flowroute’s online portal in real-time; this will also show any status updates provided by Flowroute’s porting team.
Customers may also opt in to receive email notifications for their orders, which come whenever a note is added to the order by Flowroute’s team, or there is a status change in the order. The main status for the order will show if the order is Submitted, Rejected, or Accepted by the LSP, or if the order is in a Pending, Canceled, or Abandoned status within Flowroute’s system.
From start to finish regular port orders usually take up to two-to-four weeks to complete; these are typically orders that include up to 49 numbers. Orders containing 50 numbers or more are called “project ports” which can take up to four-to-six weeks due to size and restrictions placed on the port by the LSP.
The porting team is part of Flowroute’s Customer Success Team, so keeping an open channel of communication directly with the customer is a high priority. They work closely with the customer to meet requested completion dates, or forecast the completion date when none is provided. They are experts at keeping this communication consistent and accurate.
What are common porting roadblocks? How can I prevent them?
Porting is a tricky process. Even with a great team and dedicated resources, orders are rejected daily because of miscommunications between the LSP and customers, or due to discrepancies in data.
Three common rejection areas Flowroute will typically see are as follows:
- Inaccurate data submitted (i.e. the name or address of the person doesn’t match the one associated with the number)
- Pending orders are already in process (i.e. a customer could have started porting with a different carrier who didn’t clear their order, disconnect orders submitted by the customers, or even internal moves within the carrier themselves)
- Specialty features offered by the LSP (i.e. Freeze features, call recording functions, ties to internet services, etc.) which need to be removed or untangled from the porting lines before porting is allowed.
To avoid these common roadblocks, we recommend customers communicate with their current service provider before initiating the porting process. By contacting their provider, customers can ensure they obtain all the correct information needed to have their port request approved. They can inquire about account information to ensure it is accurate and that there are no pending orders or features that will stop the port. This is usually done by requesting a customer service record (CSR), as well as speaking with their account representative, which helps ensure businesses have a smoother transition during their porting experience. Investing the time connecting with an LSP prior to porting with a new provider can save lots of headaches down the road.
What are the benefits of porting with Flowroute?
Flowroute is committed to providing quality customer service to customers navigating through the porting process. Customers have shown appreciation of our transparent process and real-time communication updates both through their continued patronage and glowing reviews. Our dedicated, in-house porting team works efficiently to ensure porting requests are processed in a timely manner to meet our customers’ needs. As we continue to expand our domestic and international coverage, we look forward to continuing to help customers port numbers and grow their businesses.