Port numbers in US and Canada overview

Porting is the process of transferring a phone number from one carrier to another carrier. The carrier from which numbers are being ported is known as the losing carrier. The carrier who is taking control of the numbers is known as the gaining carrier.

Depending on the losing carrier, the process can be simple and easy, or lengthy and complex. At Genesys, our goal is to make the porting process as quick and easy as possible. The best way to achieve that is with the cooperation of all parties involved – Genesys, our customers, and their current carriers.

In this article, you will find information on the porting process, call flows, porting types, and timeframes and customer guidelines for porting numbers. 

Call flow of a ported DID number

Local Number Portability (LNP) for DIDs works because every telephone number has a 10-digit Location Routing Number (LRN) assigned to it. In the past, the Area Code and Exchange (NPX-NXX) of a telephone number could be used to identify its location. Because numbers can now be ported between landline and wireless services, the NPA-NXX of a telephone number only identifies where the number was originally assigned. For numbers that are ported, the LRN identifies where the number is currently assigned.

When a call is made to a ported telephone number, the initiating service provider switch queries its Local Number Portability (LNP) call routing database to determine whether the telephone number has been ported. If it has, the database response provides the switch with the LRN needed to properly route the call. If the number has not been ported, the database response indicates that the call should be routed based on the telephone number. When multiple switches are involved in the call path, the next to last carrier has the responsibility to make the LNP database query if one has not already been made.

DID port types and timeframes

Genesys abides by the FCC standards, requirements, and recommendations for local number portability. The following is a list of types of ports and timeframes associated with them. Genesys standard DID porting schedule is Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM EST. The process for submitting port requests to Genesys is the same for all of these types of ports. Only the timeframes and scheduling are different.

Simple ports

Simple ports are defined as a single number that isn’t part of any bundled package and which has no special features on it. If all the information is submitted correctly by 1:00 PM local time of the losing carrier, these requests are typically completed in 1-2 business days if a first available date is requested and there are no rejections.

Standard ports

A standard port is a single order to port 100 phone numbers or less for a single Billing Telephone Number (BTN), single address, single losing carrier, and a single rate center. Standard port requests are typically completed within 7 business days if a first available date is requested and there are no rejections.

Project ports

Losing carriers can have different thresholds for what constitutes a project port.  Typically project port requests are more than 100 telephone numbers on a single BTN, a single address, and a single carrier. Project port requests are performed manually and can generally be completed within 3-4 weeks of submission. Contact your account team for questions about project porting.

Complex ports

Complex port requests contain multiple BTN’s, multiple addresses, or multiple rate centers or carriers. Due to the complexity of these types of requests, they cannot be completed in the normally defined timeframes for simple and standard port requests. Since complex port requests must be submitted individually based on the different carriers and information, we cannot guarantee that all numbers  will port on the same date and time. Contact your account team for questions about complex porting.

DID number porting process

The following are the steps taken by the carriers involved to complete a DID port request:

  1. The gaining carrier notifies the losing carrier of the requested port.
  2. The losing carrier validates the subscriber’s information that includes the customer account name, address, and authorizing agent. Letters of Authorization (LOAs) and copies of recent bills may be requested by the losing carrier to ensure that the port request is valid. Other information may also be requested as described in a following section.
  3. The losing carrier notifies the gaining carrier of their disposition of the request. If the request is rejected, a reason for the rejection is provided. Once the rejection reason has been resolved the port can be resubmitted, beginning again at Step 1. If the request is accepted, the process continues.
  4. The gaining carrier notifies the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) of the requested port.
  5. The NPAC creates a pending port and sends a notification to the losing carrier.
  6. Optionally, the losing carrier notifies the NPAC that it concurs with the port.
  7. At the scheduled date and time, the gaining carrier notifies the NPAC to activate the port.

The pending port is activated in the NPAC and broadcast to the telecommunications industry network.

Toll-free porting

Toll-free port requests follow a different process than DID requests due to the differences in the design of a toll-free network in the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA) region. Toll-free numbers are not associated with any specific geographical region, nor with a specific telephony service provider. Each toll-free number is associated with a Responsible Organization (RespOrg) that is registered with the NANPA regulator. The RespOrg for a toll-free number controls routing for the number via provisioning with the regulatory authority. This system was designed to make the routing and control of toll-free numbers flexible. Porting a toll-free number consists of changing the controlling RespOrg and the associated routing information. Unlike DIDs, there is no ongoing designation of the toll-free number as having been ported, nor is there special routing or call flows for calling a ported toll-free number. The current routing information for toll-free numbers is always queried by carriers when routing a call, so that calls are delivered to the correct service provider, regardless of any previous ownership or routing information.

Toll-free number porting process

 The following are the steps taken by the carriers involved to complete a toll-free port request. All communication between carriers for toll-free porting is via the NANPA regulator.

  1. The gaining carrier notifies the losing carrier of the port request, providing all necessary information.
  2. The losing carrier validates the subscriber’s information that includes the customer account name, address, and authorizing agent. LOAs and copies of recent bills may be requested by the losing carrier to ensure that the port request is valid. For toll-free port requests, typically no other information is required.
  3. The losing carrier notifies the gaining carrier of their disposition of the request. If the request is rejected, a reason for the rejection is provided. Once the rejection reason has been resolved the port can be resubmitted, beginning again at Step 1. If the request is accepted, the process continues.
  4. The NANPA regulator transfers control of the numbers to the gaining carrier’s RespOrg. This transfer happens immediately upon acceptance of the port, but the configured routing is not changed, so that calls still route to the losing carrier’s service provider.
  5. At the scheduled date and time, the gaining carrier updates the routing configuration to direct calls to the new service provider, thus completing the port.

Customer porting guidelines

While the FCC mandates the number porting process for all carriers, the internal process for each individual carrier varies which can cause errors or delays when porting telephone numbers. All carriers require a signed LOA, the current address for the numbers, and the name of the registered end user of the numbers. In addition, some carriers require further information that can include:

  • Account number
  • Account password or PIN
  • Copy of a recent invoice
  • Bill To Number (BTN)
  • Listing of all numbers remaining on the account

This list is not exhaustive and varies between carriers. It’s important for customers to know before starting the port process what information is required from their existing service provider to port numbers to another carrier. Here are a few additional guidelines that will help to ensure that the process goes smoothly:

  • Do not disconnect services with your current carrier. Disconnected numbers cannot be ported.
  • Provide accurate porting information – addresses provided should usually be the service addresses and not billing addresses. Also, ensure that you’ve submitted an LOA and any carrier-specific information such as passwords, PINs, or account numbers.

Most common issues with porting telephone numbers

The most common reasons for the rejection of port orders are information mismatch such as the name, address, zip code, or account numbers. Other potential reasons for rejection include:

  • Inactive/Disconnected Numbers – numbers must be active for porting to be possible.
  • Pending Orders – a change order for the number already exists. This can be another port request, but it can also be any type of service change with the losing carrier, such as changing an address or a Calling Name. The gaining carrier will not be able to determine the nature of the order. The customer must contact the losing carrier to determine the source of the order and how it can be cleared.
  • BTN/ATN Mismatch – the provided billing telephone number does not match the carrier’s BTN.
  • Partial Port/Migration Indicator – a partial port is when a customer is porting some but not all of their numbers away from a carrier. Errors can occur if orders are submitted as a partial port, but the request is actually a full port or when the order is submitted as a full port but is actually a partial port.
  • Carrier Freeze – the customer has requested a that a freeze be put on the account to prevent porting. An unfreeze order can take 1 to 3 weeks to complete depending on the carrier.
  • Distinctive Ring or Other Feature – most carriers will not allow porting of numbers where special features are active. Special features must first be de-activated prior to requesting a port.
  • Name/Address Mismatch – The name or address on the losing carrier’s CSR (Customer Service Record) does not match the information submitted for the port. The customer has to contact the losing carrier to obtain the correct information or possibly obtain a CSR to verify the provided information.
  • Unauthorized Signature – The signatory of the provided LOA is not listed as authorized to make changes on the account with the old service provider. The customer needs to contact the old service provider to have the signatory added as an authorized agent, or resubmit the request with a new signatory who is authorized.

Genesys Cloud Voice support

If you need assistance with porting your numbers into Genesys Cloud Voice, you can contact us at PCVoiceTelcoRequest@genesys.com.