Getting your numbers ported faster

May 21, 2009 by Garrett Smith

Hidden in last week’s news that the FCC would soon be imposing new regulations requiring VoIP providers to provide “reasonable notice” to customers and regulatory officials before they shut down, was a new rule requiring land line, cellular and VoIP providers to port numbers to another provider within one business day.

It’s funny (to me at least), that LNP (Local Number Portability) is something that I “remember” becoming a reality. At the time I was selling wireless, and when news came down that customer could leave a competitive service with their number I was stoked.

After all, I represented the low cost alternative and one of the biggest barriers of getting a customer to switch to our services was the “new number” issue.

What I thought was going to be blessing for my wallet ended-up becoming a nightmare as providers proved to be ill prepared to handle number porting. The paperwork, processes and people were all, well, pretty shitty.

The result was long lead times, mistakes and my favorite – unhappy customers.

That was over a half dozen years ago and if you fast-forward to today the mandate is that a number gets ported within four business days. To me, that seems pretty reasonable. And my recent experience with customers and service providers is that this is fair to both parties.

Which leads me to my own thoughts on number porting.

Does one really need a 24 hour turnaround time for porting their numbers? I mean, how many people out their make snap decisions about changing their communications provider. For majority, changing providers likely requires thought and therefore they’d be well aware of the “up-to-four-days” wait.

And one more thing. Will service providers be able to truly live up to this? Having worked for two very large wireless carriers and a small business, I can tell you that 24 hour turnarounds are tough for just about everything. Is the mandate for one day number ports a recipe for disaster, an improper expectation set?

As consumers and business professionals dealing with this, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

1 Comment

  • db

    I like the idea of a 24 hour port. that would sure make thing harder for carriers to reject orders for silly reasons…

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