What Is Phone Porting?

By Jennifer VanBaren

Phone porting transfers a wireless telephone number, or "ports" it, from one telephone service provider to another. Porting is monitored and controlled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).


When a person changes phone service providers but wants to keep the same number, they can elect to port the number . There are procedures a person must follow for porting numbers but this service is available with all carriers.


In order to port a number, the customer must remain in the same local area as before. If a customer moves to a new city or state, the number cannot be ported.


To have a phone number ported, the customer must first contact the new service provider. The new service provider makes a request to the original service provider requesting that this specific number get ported. The FCC requires the old carrier to confirm and authorize the request.


When a phone number is ported, there is a short time lag before the process is finalized. During this time, it is possible that two phones will have the same phone number. Porting a number typically takes one to four business days. Fees for this service may apply depending on the carriers.