The age-old question: Why is my number port taking so long?
If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely familiar with number porting and probably even more familiar with the common challenges that people face when porting their phone numbers. But why has the process been deemed so painful?
When the telecom industry was deregulated nearly 20 years ago, new communication service providers (CSPs) began popping up everywhere. Businesses and consumers had the freedom to choose their CSPs and their pricing but could not keep their existing phone numbers when changing providers. Number porting, or local number portability (LNP), was created to change that.
LNP was made possible by the creation of a new number system called, Location Routing Numbers (LRN) – a unique 10-digit number assigned to a telephone switch for the purpose of routing phone calls through the PSTN. Every ported number has an assigned LRN so that when someone changes service providers, their established phone number can stay the same and instead, the LRN is the number that changes through the porting process.
So, what is the porting process? The Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC), a leg of the FCC that facilitates local number portability in the U.S. and Canada, outlines the porting process in eight steps:
- The new service provider notifies the old service provider of the requested port.
- The old service provider is asked to validate the subscriber’s information.
- The old service provider confirms the subscriber’s information and notifies the new service provider. (Note: this is where the process gets caught in a loop if the subscriber information submitted is incorrect.)
- The new service provider notifies the NPAC of the requested port.
- The NPAC creates a pending port and sends a notification to the old service provider.
- Optionally, the old service provider notifies the NPAC that it concurs with the port.
- The new service provider notifies the NPAC to activate the port.
- The pending port is activated in the NPAC and broadcast to the telecommunications industry network within milli-seconds.
Although eight steps may seem simple, the lack of simplicity is one of the main factors that holds up number porting. For example, many carriers have established their own rules around number porting. When these carriers are the losing service provider (LSP), it makes the process more difficult to navigate because the individual porting process or steps to follow is not always the same.
In a recent blog post, the Flowroute Number Porting Team outlined some of the common roadblocks that slow down the porting process. If you are seeing your porting take longer than it should, consider reviewing this post and confirming you’ve checked the boxes below. Failure to complete some or all of these tasks before the porting process can result in a painful process for you, your LSP and your new carrier.
√ Is the data you submitted accurate? Inaccurate data submitted is one of leading pitfalls. Be sure to check that the name and address of the person matches the name and address associated with the phone number.
√ Is the port order already in process? If the number port has already been started it slows down the process because it shows that the number is still in the hands of another port process. This occurs when a customer started porting the number with a different carrier that did not finish the port, clear their order, or disconnect orders submitted by the customer.
√ Are specialty features or settings in place? Special features such as freeze features, call recording, or ties to internet services and subscriptions can tangle the porting line. It is important to remove and clear existing settings offered by the LSP so the port from the new carrier can go through seamlessly.