What is number porting?

When upgrading a telephone system to Cloud Telephony, if you have existing telephone numbers that may have been in use for many years or perhaps they are well known as ‘published numbers’ you will naturally want to retain these. The process of converting these telephone numbers away from analogue or ISDN phone lines to cloud numbers is called number porting.

When upgrading from an old analogue telephone system or an existing ISDN digital phone system to a Cloud Hosted telephone system, clients often ask about the expected disruption. One of the main causes of delay in transferring telephone numbers to a cloud hosted service is number porting. This is when a client’s existing telephone numbers are transferred from their current provider to the new cloud service provider.

How long does number porting take?

Number porting can take as little as 10 to 14 working days from the date of request, but it nearly always takes much longer.

To avoid delays, the new provider must have all the information about the current carrier including the client’s billing account details. The account information can be found on the itemised phone bill, so it’s crucial to provide a copy of a recent bill to the new provider.

If there are any discrepancies with the account details, addresses or the telephone numbers, the losing carrier can reject the porting request, causing further delay and cost.

Another area where delays often occur, is finding out who the actual provider of the telephone numbers are. A phone bill may show that the billing is made by your telecom services provider, but they are most likely not the actual number provider. This information is needed to avoid delays.

If you can provide your new supplier with the full account details and the actual provider of the numbers, it will help make the process much easier.

Can I upgrade to Cloud Telephony before I port numbers?

If you’re not able to provide the required information, or if the porting process is taking much too long for you and you need to upgrade by a certain date, it may be possible in some cases to carry out the number porting at a later date after the upgrade has taken place. However, you need to check this and discuss it with your new supplier well in advance.

What do I need to do to make number porting as smooth as possible?


Advance planning can save the extra cost, hassle and stress of delaying a number port, or even losing your published telephone numbers



For a successful number port, we would always advise the following:

It’s essential to plan well in advance and not to leave it until a week or two beforehand.

Don’t take anything for granted, ask an expert and listen to their advice.

Allow for a realistic timescale, many suppliers are involved in the process each with their own lead-time.

Don’t assume anything……..

Consulting with your provider and having a contingency plan in place is crucial.

And don’t forget (as many do), that your current agreement may be subject to a notice period with your incumbent provider. Find out how much notice is required and build this timescale into your planning otherwise there may be a delay or a further cost to account for.


If you have any questions about porting your telephone numbers to a cloud hosted telephone system or if you would like to contact Time Communications, please click here.


March 2024