For some time now, it has been possible for customers to move geographic telephone numbers with them when they switch providers. This is great if your business has spent time and money on marketing which includes a particular phone number. Number ports are done through the Number Portability Company(NPC), which handles all number ports between providers in South Africa. The NPC is set up solely for this purpose, and is jointly owned by Cell C, MTN, Neotel (now named Liquid Telecom) ,Telkom and Vodacom. I have been managing and then supervising number ports for Bizvoip for almost 2 years now, and thought I might write a bit about how the process works.
Number porting is all about paperwork. Whenever we are asked by a customer how to get a number ported, we provide the customer with relevant forms to complete, and a list of supporting documents we require.
For all ports we require:
- Complete the provided porting document, and clearly indicating the numbers to be ported
- Latest invoice for the numbers to be ported. Including the pages that display the numbers to be ported.
- Proof of payment for the invoice provided
- Copy of the signatory’s ID
- Letter of Authorization from the account holder giving permission for the numbers to be ported. We provide a template for this letter, but the details for your company will need to be filled in.
- **An additional form is required for porting to the Cloud PBX platform if the current provider is any other than Neotel or Telkom
- **The Porting document for the Cloud PBX is also different if the line is an ADSL, and whether or not the customer wishes to retain the ADSL functionality
The porting document mentioned above varies depending on which platform the number is being ported to, be it our VoIP carrier platform or the Cloud PBX platform, and the linetype, eg. Analogue, ISDN, ADSL etc. In most cases, sending us the invoice for the account will give us all the information we need to provide you the correct porting document.
There are in general 2 types of lines:
- Individual: Analogue, standard telephone lines, ADSL lines, VoIP, general telephone numbers. this is the correct line type for most numbers being ported. This is a bit confusing, as often you are porting multiple numbers at the same time. In this case “Individual” simply refers to the type of line, and not how many numbers are being ported.
- Managed: PRI/BRI (basic rate or primary rate ISDN) lines carry multiple calls at the same time, and require specialised hardware on the premises to manage the calls. If your number is Managed, you will probably know. Some providers allow individual numbers to be ported out of a Managed number block, whereas others require that the whole block be ported as a single unit.
Once the paperwork is completed and sent to our support team, we check that the documents are in order, and submit them for porting. Porting can take up to 2 working weeks for Individual numbers, and up to 1 month for managed numbers. On rare occasions, number ports are ready quicker, unfortunately we are not able to influence this, as it is almost solely dependant on the releasing provider to release the number to port, and we do not have any contact or influence with the releasing provider during the process, everything is done through the NPC.
Once we receive notification that the numbers are ready to port, we notify the customer and ask which date works best for them to port. On occasions, we will be presented with a port date already scheduled for the number, which we relay to the customer. We can ofcourse have the port date adjusted to the customer’s liking. We do not charge any markup for our number porting, and our accounts team will send you an invoice for the cost when we receive one.
The number is ported in the evening of the port date, after 5PM. Routing for this number is changed over to the new provider that evening, and numbers will continue working as usual until this time. By 8am the following morning, providers around the country will have updated their call routing to send the calls to the new provider for the phone number.
- While we are able to port any geographic number, be it 011, 021, 031, etc. there are some limitations.
- We are not able to port any 087 numbers, and we are not able to port any mobile numbers.
- Telkom has special use numbers that you may be familiar with, such as 0800, 0860, 0861, etc. These special numbers cannot be ported, but we may be able to find a workaround if you require. Please enquire about this on a case by case basis.
- We cannot port any number that has been ported in the past 60 days. often referred to as a Porting Lock
- In the event that a number is fraudulently ported, there are provisions for a port reversal. This is not restricted by the 60 day Porting Lock.
- If submitted within 24 hours after a number is ported, the number port will be reversed.
- This procedure is specifically designed for cases of fraud, and does not apply in the cases where the customer changes their mind, or through error when filling out the paperwork.
- Proof of a fraudulent port is required to have the port reversed.
Having handled hundreds of number ports in 2018, our support team is well equipped to help you with any and all queries or assistance when it comes to number porting. Feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article has turned out longer than I expected, but I hope it helps shed some light on the porting process.