How does porting actually work?
Step 1: PrimeVOX submits the port order to the Losing Carrier through a National system called NPAC. The Port Order must have the most accurate information possible for the carrier to accept it. The Port Order has a REQUESTED FOC date; the carrier DOES NOT have to honor the date, but we would like them to (of course).
- Submission Time: Instantaneous
- Technology: API Connection
Step 2: The NPAC communicates the Port Order details to the Losing Carrier, typically within about 2 hours. Some carriers support API-based technology which means we can get an FOC date within a few hours. Other carriers have a pseudo-automatic method, like an email system, which means we will get a response within 24 hours, hopefully. Other carriers are 100% manual and require human intervention. They can respond whenever they want, but are supposed to respond within 72 hours per the Telecom Act of 1996.
- Submission Time: 2 Hours
- Technology: API Connection, Email, or Manual
Step 3a (Carrier with API Connectivity): The Losing Carrier's API receives the order from the NPAC, and validates all information submitted against their database. If their minimum requirements are met, they accept our requested FOC date (or give us a mandated new one). This can take up to 2 hours since these are usually done in batches.
- Time to Process: 2 Hours
Step 3b (Carrier with Email Capability): The Losing Carrier's porting team gets a copy of the email from the NPAC with the information. They manually log into their CRM software, check the information, and, hopefully, accept our port request. If they do, they either accept our requested port date or provide a mandated new one.
- Time to Process: 24 to 72 Hours
Step 3c (Legacy Carrier with Manual Porting): Hopefully, the Losing Carrier's porting team is logging into the NPAC and checking their new port orders at least a few times a day. Some carriers only check once per day. They get the details from the NPAC console, log into their CRM, and double check information. They will likely force us to port at a later date than the requested one because this type of carrier typically has old equipment.
- Time to Process: 24 to 72 Hours
Step 4: We receive the Losing Carrier's response through the NPAC immediately via API (since our porting system is modern). We communicate the acceptance/rejection to you, the customer/reseller.
Step 5a: If the Port Order was accepted, then we wait til Activation Day.
Step 5b: If the Port Order was rejected, we must revise it, then start over with Step 1.
What is a Line Drop?
Porting, as you can see, is a complex process. It involves 3 parties (Winning Carrier, NPAC, Losing Carrier). If any one of the three parties becomes desynchronized with the other two, then the port order will LOOK okay but in fact will not activate on the port date that was supposedly "guaranteed."
When this happens, a Line Drop occurs, and the customer's phone number enters a fully disconnected state - the line is not operated by any carrier at that point, and inbound callers will receive the "number disconnected" message.
A Line Drop lasts approximately 10 days. This is because the Losing Carrier has to "snap back" the numbers from the telecom void by placing an order with the rate center that actually owns the number. Rate centers are typically 100% manual so it can take several days of just waiting on them to respond to the snap order.
Why is changing an FOC date dangerous?
Whenever we make a change to a port order (even a port order that has been completely confirmed for FOC) we have to restart the entire process above from Step 1. The previous port order is cancelled in the NPAC and the entire process must restart.
If the carrier is automatic/API-enabled, then it should be relatively safe. There is still a possibility they may purposefully delay/push out the date, because some carriers don't like FOC movements. This can (although rarely) result in a Line Drop.
An FOC date change is very likely to get pushed out to a date you weren't expecting if the carrier is legacy/manual In these cases, there is larger liklihood of a Line Drop.
What about porting from multiple carriers?
Coordinating multiple port orders to happen on the same day REQUIRES a minimum of 2 weeks (14 days); this time span is a buffer to allow us to deal with rejections and other issues with a port order.
We can always try and speed up multiple port orders, but it is very likely at least one of them will incur a rejection and cause the port date to be moved out past the rest of them.
What is Instantaneous Porting?
Some carriers, like PrimeVOX, Google Voice, and a few others, utilize the newest porting technologies and NPAC APIs; this allows us to negotiate an FOC date instantaneously with the Losing Carrier. This is why porting from Google Voice, Bandwidth, Telnyx, etc. can happen as a same-day port. We hope all carriers will eventually invest into their architecture to support this technology.
Level 3 is an example of an API-connected carrier that is not using the most updated APIs. We get an FOC within 4 hours from Level 3 and can often negotiate a port date of 3-4 business days instead of the usual 5-7 days. We'll be able to do a same-day port once they update their porting system.
What is different about porting wireless numbers?
- Non-Technical Explanation
All wireless accounts have PIN numbers. The PIN number may or may not be on your customer's bill. We cannot pull CSR (Customer Service Record) information for wireless numbers - No carrier can do this. Because Wireless numbers are so specially guarded and protected under a lot of consumer laws, we have absolutely no negotiation power with wireless carriers. The PIN number you provide must be EXACT. The Account Number you provide must be EXACT. The carrier will reject our request and we CANNOT reach out to them for help if any of it is incorrect.
Under very specific circumstances where the wireless carrier may be forcing us (or your customer) to jump through hoops, the most we can do is file an informal complaint with the FCC. Your customer must do this for themselves - We've tried filing complaints with the FCC on behalf of our users/resellers but it typically looks fishy and they don't like it.
- Technical Explanation
Porting a landline means coordinating with the NPAC between the old carrier, the new carrier (us), and the FCC. Porting a wireless phone number means coordinating with the NPAC in addition to the Wireless LERG (which is essentially the worldwide cellular routing table).
While the LERG supports instantaneous porting, PrimeVOX is not (yet) a true wireless carrier so the line must be converted back to a landline and removed from the LERG.For specific information about porting wireless numbers, please refer to see Wireless Porting - Some Important Notes