Freephone and local rate number (FLRN) portability lets you keep your existing FLRN number when changing service providers. Taking your number to another provider is known as ‘porting’.
The portability of freephone (numbers beginning with 18/1800) and local rate (numbers beginning with 13/1345/1300) is referred to as Inbound Number Portability.
Numbering plan and code rules
The relevant rules of number portability are set out in the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 (the Numbering Plan). Providers must comply with the Numbering Plan.
The Inbound Number Portability (INP) Code outlines providers’ obligations relating to the porting of FLRN numbers, including processes and timeframes for porting.
Obligations of providers
If you want to port a FLRN to a new provider, your existing provider must:
- port the FLRN to your preferred provider if you or your new provider (on your behalf) requests this.
- not prevent you from keeping the same FLRN when changing to the new provider.
There is no obligations on a new provider to accept a port request. If you wish to port your number, you must first find a new provider that is willing to accept the port.
If you want to change providers:
- contact the new provider so it can start the process of porting your number. The new provider will contact your current provider to arrange the port.
- do not disconnect your service with your current provider. A port cannot take place if the service has been disconnected as you no longer have a right to that number. Your new provider will arrange the disconnection when the port is implemented.
The new provider must obtain your consent before processing a port request.
Consent is obtained via a customer authorisation process. The customer authorisation may contain details such as your existing FLRN number and service account number. The service account number can be found on your telephone bill. The new provider will validate the authorisation before processing the port request.
Current contractual obligations
Changing providers does not release you from your current contractual obligations. You may still have to pay out the contract or pay an early termination fee and all call charges in order to satisfy contractual obligations.
A fee to port your number may be charged by your current and/or new provider and this may be included in your contract.
You may prefer to wait for the existing contract to expire before changing to a new provider.
Refusing to port due to outstanding debt
Your current provider cannot refuse or delay a request to port your FLRN to a new provider because of any outstanding debt. However, you are still required to meet your contractual obligations with your current provider.
Although the Numbering Plan allows providers to apply for exemption from porting obligations, no such exemption has been granted in regard to FLRN to date. All providers are therefore obliged to comply with porting requests.
Enquiries and complaints
If you cannot port a FLRN, you should first contact the new provider for assistance.
If the complaint remains unresolved, you can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). The TIO offers a fast, free and fair dispute resolution service for small business and residential customers that have a complaint about their telephone or internet service in Australia www.tio.com.au.
The Numbering Plan
Customer Service Centre
firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 850 115