Tired of your mobile provider? Good news: changing carriers doesn’t have to mean losing your phone number. If you’ve decided to go another way, you have the right to take your number with you. And we have a comprehensive overview of exactly how to do it.
Transferring your number from one network to another is a common practice known as mobile number portability. It’s extremely convenient, because it means that you don’t have to reach out to all your contacts and let them know that you have a new number. Moreover, the process is painless, quick, and most importantly, free. As a bonus, there are often special offers targeted at those who decide to port their number, so you can make the most of the experience.
When you decide to change carriers, the new provider will ask if you want to transfer your number to their network. If your answer is yes, the new carrier will do all the dirty work. They will contact your old provider and arrange for the number to be ported.
The process generally takes around three hours, but can also last longer – usually a maximum of two business days. The time can vary from provider to provider and client to client. While some customers get their numbers ported in a matter of minutes, others have to wait a few hours for the process to be completed. It’s best to approach your new telco during a business day, so things can go as smoothly as possible. Most carriers don’t operate porting facilities on Sundays or public holidays.
Once the new carrier transfers your number, your account with the old provider will automatically be closed, as long as you don’t have other numbers/services attached to that account.
Important! Your new provider can only port your number as long as the service is still active with your old carrier. If you cancel the service, you can no longer request for your number to be ported.
What to do in the meantime?
While porting your number usually only takes a few hours, it’s always best to have a contingency plan in place. If you need to be available during this time, picking up a prepaid SIM might be a good idea. Most come with enough call credit to get you through the day.
Can the porting process fail?
Although it rarely happens, it’s possible for issues to arise during the porting process. If you notice that your request hasn’t been processed in two business days, contact your new provider and ask for more information. If the carrier doesn’t come up with a solution and the problem drags out, you can complain to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).
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