Can I Keep My Existing Phone Number While Using VoIP?

Porting your number to your internet phone service

Close up of unrecognizable student using cell phone on a break in the classroom.
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You have used a phone number for years and many people recognize you or your company through it, and you don't want to abandon it for a new one. Switching to VoIP means changing phone service provider and also phone number.

Can you still use your existing landline PSTN phone number with your new VoIP service? Will your VoIP service provider allow you to keep your existing phone number?

Basically yes, you can bring your existing number over with you to the new VoIP (Internet telephony) service. However, there are certain cases where you cannot. Let's take a look at the details. 

Number portability is the ability to still use your phone number from one phone service provider with another. This is, fortunately, possible today between phone service provider companies, whether they offer wired or wireless service. The regulating body in the US, the FCC, ruled that all VoIP service providers should offer phone number portability.

This feature is not always free. Some VoIP companies do offer number portability against a fee. The fee charged can be a one-time payment or can be a monthly amount payable as long as you keep the ported number. So, if you care a lot about number portability, talk about it to your provider and consider the eventual fee in your cost planning. 

Besides the fee, porting a number may also impose certain restrictions. You might be barred, as a result, from benefiting from certain features offered with the new service. This is true especially for features that are linked to their numbers, which are often given for free with a new service. One way people avoid this restriction is to pay for a second line that carries their ported number. This way, they have all the features with the new service while still being able to use their golden old line. 

Your Records Should Be the Same

One very important thing to know if you want to keep your existing number is that the personal records of the person owning the number should be exactly the same with both companies.

For example, the name and address you submit as the owner of the account should be exactly the same with both companies. A phone number is always attached to a person’s or company’s name and address. If you want the number with the new company to be, say, that of your wife, then it will not be portable. She will have to use a new number obtained from the new company.

You may not be able to port your number in certain cases like if you are changing location and the area code is changing as a result. 

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