Yes, you can transfer a land line number to a cell phone! Â Heck, you can even transfer a cell phone to a land line.
Â Or, to make it really interesting, you can transfer a fax number to a cell phone and back to a land line to be used as a fax all over again. The bottom line is this: Numbers are portable.
Back in the stone age (prior to 1996) phone carriers were not required to allow you to port your number. So if you had a land line that had owned since 1972 and wanted to transfer that to your cell phone carrier you could not do it. The phone companies exercised a kind of “phone number tyranny” for many years. Then, in 1996 the FCC told everyone to play nice and let people port their numbers around. In the beginning phases of number portability it could take weeks or months to transfer a number from one carrier to another. Now, it can take a matter of days or even hours. Here is how you do it:
- Contact your new carrier – Tell them you have a number that you would like to transfer to their service. They will then guide you through the process.
- Fill out the form – Yes, there is paperwork involved. With most wireless carriers nowadays you can fill out “porting forms” online. However, when you move to or from a land line provider you often have to fill out a one-page document called an “LNP” form (Local Number Port” form. This is also known as an “LSR” or some other three-letter acronym. If you are moving a toll-free number you will have to fill out the sister-form to the LNP which is know as the “RESPORG.” I could tell you what RESPORG actually means but nobody on earth actually even remembers what it means, nor does anyone care. All you need to know is that when you move a toll free number you must fill out the RESPORG form.Â The purpose of these forms is to get your written consent proving that you wish to move your number from one carrier to another.
- Prove the number is yours – Not so fast! You can’t just port any number you want – it may already belong to somebody else! To prevent people from stealing other people’s favorite phone numbers, the switching carriers require you to submit not only a signed LNP form but you must attach a copy of a current service bill that is in your name. This is kind of a “proof of purchase” measure that carriers take to make sure your competition isn’t trying to take your published business line over without you knowing about it.
- Wait patiently….Or don’t – The waiting is the hardest part (thanks, Tom Petty). It can take a few days to port a number. Or it can take a week or more. You should expect to wait at least a week. If you don’t hear anything back from your new carrier, start calling them on the phone every hour on the hour for a full update (they will really appreciate all the extra attention!).
- Cut over – At Last! Eventually, your new carrier will call you with the best news you’ve heard since you found out you were getting $3.89 back on this year’s tax returns. The cut over is here! The cut over is the date that your number actually moves from your old carrier to your new carrier. For some reason, every number that I have ported in the last twelve years has always cut over at 10 a.m. This must be some kind of magical “Porting Hour” know amongst all carriers. Whatever time and date you get, your service will move from old to new at the chosen time. You should not experience any service interruption. If you do, it should be less than 5 or 10 minutes at most.
Now I have to tell you the most important step of all before you begin the wonderful process known as number porting. Before you initiate a number port request, make sure of this: DO NOT CANCEL SERVICE WITH YOUR CURRENT PROVIDER UNTIL YOUR NUMBER IS COMPLETELY MOVED OVER TO YOUR NEW CARRIER. If you do cancel service prior to your port BEFORE your port is completed you will lose your number and will likely never have a chance to get it back. Your number must remain active with your current carrier until you port it. Once the number transfers, you can then cancel with the old carrier. Yes, you will probably pay a bit more on your old service contract but that is the way the game is played and we all have to follow the rules.