TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Number Portability: POTS, VoIP, and Cellular

Re: Number Portability: POTS, VoIP, and Cellular

Robert Bonomi (
Fri, 21 Apr 2006 19:25:43 -0000

In article <>,
<> wrote:

> I haven't found answers to most of these questions:

[[.. snip questions ..]]

Authoritative answer to all the questions: "it depends".

You couldn't even be bothered to specify what country you were talking
about, reducing any attempt to respond to nothing more than a 'guess',
at best.

In the U.S., 'local number portability' is a fact. With some caveats.
Only the _owner_ of the number can 'port' it to a different carrier.
Who actually 'owns' the number is not necessarily obvious. You _do_
probably 'own' the POTS or cellular number you use. If you have a
personal 800 number, it is likely that the company providing the
service 'owns' _that_ number, and has just 'loaned' it to you.

VOIP providers are the 'customer' to the telephone company, and, as
such 'own' the numbers they were issued by the telephone company.
They're just letting you 'use' one of their 'direct dial' extensions,
as it were. (note: this situation has gotten a _lot_ muddier, with
the gov't ruling that VOIP providers must provide '911' under the
requirements for 'real' telephone companies. Argument can be made
that if they're being treated as a 'real' phone company, they should
have to do all the other things 'real' telephone companies do. Like
number portability, 911 fees, 'universal access' fees, etc.)

There are a minimum of three players in any local number 'porting',
possibly as many as _five_. (I think it's possible that one could even
get more, but I cant think of how, right now.)

At a minimum, there is the 'customer' (you), the old carrier, and the
new carrier.

'You' have to issue the authorization for the carrier change,
the new carrier has to be willing (and able!) to handle calls for that number
After those things are established, the old carrier *must* relinquish the
number to the new carrier.

Things can get messy, since portability *is* only "local" -- you
cannot 'port' a NYC number to Los Angeles, for example.

This means that the 'new' carrier must have physical equipment in the
'local' area of the original switch that serviced that number.

If the 'new' carrier doesn't have facilities in the right location,
they're "not able" to receive the number.

The 'more complicated' case: you're a 'user' who buys service from the
party (actual telephone 'customer') that 'owns' the number, and want
to take it somewhere else -- where you'd just be a 'user' of a
_different_ actual telephone 'customer'. (e.g., going from one VOIP
provider to another VOIP provider.) This requires:

1) active co-operation from the current VOIP provider, to issue the
LOA authorizing their _telephone_company_ to release the number
to the designated carrier used by the new VOIP provider.

2) active co-operation from the new VOIP provider, to: (a) identify
their carrier, (b) route calls to that number to _you_, and (c)
co-operate in relinquishing that number if/when you decide to go
'somewhere else'.

3) a transfer of 'ownership' of that number from the current VOIP
provider (remember _they_ are the telephone company's customer)
to the new VOIP provider. This is necessary because the new VOIP
provider doesn't use the same telephone company as the old VOIP
provider -- thus the receiving telephone company does not
'recognize' the current provider (who issued the LOA for the
change) as one of _their_ customers. And, similarly, the current
telco doesn't recognize the new VOIP provider as one of their
customers. 4) the telco of the new VOIP provider must have
facilities in the right location, or they're "not able" to
receive the number. 5) the new VOIP provider must have links to
*that* equipment, or the telco must be willing to back-haul the
connection from the 'destination' facility to the one where the
VOIP provider has their connection.

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