VoIP is quickly becoming a key player in telecommunications, with both businesses and residences making the switch. With so many moving to a VoIP phone system, the question of keeping phone numbers has surfaced.
How do I buy a phone number? Can I purchase multiple numbers? Can I keep my current phone number?
Most VoIP customers are concerned about keeping phone numbers, especially businesses that have a rapport with a number of customers and clients, as well as branded collateral. Don’t worry! There are several ways you can keep your current phone number when switching to a VoIP phone system. Here are nine steps to doing just that.
9 Steps to Keeping Phone Numbers in VoIP
Being able to secure your phone number when you switch to VoIP surrounds being able to port your number into the voice system.
1. Make Sure Your Number is Portable
The first thing you need to ask yourself when you are switching to VoIP and want to ask is whether or not your current phone number is portable. Your new provider will be able to determine this for you with a simple porting test.
2. Have Your Current Phone Provider’s Bill Handy
Once you’ve discovered that your number is portable to a VoIP communications company, you then need to get a phone bill from your current carrier. You probably have a few of these around. Your bill offers a variety of information that will help you transition to VoIP seamlessly.
This information includes that actual services you currently have, so you know which services you’d need when you make the switch. Some other information your bill will hold that will prove to be useful is what you are currently paying to make a conscientious comparison to what you should be paying your new VoIP company and all other numbers that are associated with your current contract. These numbers will be orphaned once you switch to VoIP and port your main number.
3. Know What Your Billing Telephone Number (BTN) Is
Your billing number will be used as a reference point to organize all your old and new services. All phone companies associate a phone number with a bill, so you are sure to have a phone number connected to your current bill. This information will also prove to be handy when porting your number, especially if it is your billing number, to a VoIP service to avoid any disruption in communications services.
4. Obtain Your Customer Service Record (CSR)
Keep in mind that some phone companies do not provide a CSR. If your phone company is a competitive local exchange (CLEC) or incumbent local exchange (ILEC), then you should be able to obtain this information. Otherwise, it is recommended to instead provide your current account number to the company that you will be porting your number to in a porting note.
5. Complete a Letter of Authorization (LOA) For Your New Provider
An LOA allows your new VoIP carrier the ability to request the number you’d like to port from your current carrier. More often than not, you will encounter carriers using a paper form of an LOA, which you will need to sign and fax back. If you’re able to, find a VoIP carrier that takes advantage of an online LOA submission tool to help mitigate any errors that could happen using a paper form.
6. Review and Submit Your Documents
Before you submit your LOA, you want to make sure all the correct information is included, to avoid any extra time it may take to compile all the documents again. Make sure you have provided the correct BTN, address and contact information, and any other additional information your new VoIP carrier may have requested.
Even the smallest error could result in your LOA being rejected and force you to start over again.
7. Review Your Carrier’s Response
You will receive one of three responses from your future VoIP carrier: a firm order commitment (FOC), Jeopardy, or canceled.
The first possible response, FOC, means your LOA has been approved and your new VoIP provider has agreed to port your current number. The second possible response, Jeopardy, means your LOA was rejected due to incorrect information. The third possible response, canceled, means your new VoIP provider is unable to port your number for reasons that may include an issue with the desired geographical location.
Thankfully, if the steps mapped out for you have been followed, the probability of you getting a Jeopardy or canceled response are slim. You will have already verified that your number is portable and you have ensured that all your information was documented correctly in your LOA.
8. Confirm Your First Order Commitment (FOC) Date Assignment
Once you’ve received your FOC, make sure your business office and phone systems are ready to use a VoIP system. Be it a landline VoIP system or a cloud-based VoIP system, there are certain tasks that need to be completed prior to making your first VoIP call. This may include purchasing new hardware or offering some preliminary training to your team.
9. Test Your New Ported Number
Once your number has been ported and you no longer have service with your previous phone provider, be sure to test your new ported number. Make a few inbound and outbound calls to ensure the calls are made correctly and the voice quality is satisfactory.
Next Steps: Finding a VoIP Carrier
With VoIP quickly being the premier phone service for businesses and even residences, be sure to investigate several VoIP providers in your area and their options in keeping phone numbers.
SIPTRUNK.com offers a wealth of VoIP support and information on finding the perfect VoIP provider both locally and nationwide. When you are ready to find the perfect VoIP fit, be sure to use SIPTRUNK.com as a resource.