Local number portability (LNP) lets you change your phone company that provides you with your local calls without changing your telephone number(s). Taking your telephone number to another phone company is known as 'porting'.
Porting means you can shop around for the best rates and service without having to worry about changing your telephone number.
LNP does not guarantee that you can keep your number if you move to a different geographic location.
Keeping my number
Your current phone company must port your telephone number if you request to port your number to another company (on any service including an NBN service) and ensure that no action (or inaction) on its part prevents you from keeping your number.
However, there is no obligation on a new phone company to accept your port request. If you wish to port your number, you must first find a new phone company that is willing to accept the port.
If you want to change phone companies:
- contact the new phone company so it can start the process of porting your number. The new company will contact your current phone company to arrange the port.
- do not disconnect your service with your current telephone company. A port cannot take place if the service has been disconnected as you no longer have a right to that number.
Fees and charges
The following fees may apply when porting your number from one company to another:
- an early termination fee under your existing contract with your current company
- any outstanding call charges with your current company
- a fee to port your number which may be charged by your current company and/or the new company.
Your current company cannot refuse to port your number—even if you owe them money for any outstanding balance on your account.
Moving house and keeping your telephone number whilst remaining with the same phone company
This is called 'location portability' - and is possible as long as your phone company is prepared to provide service on your number at the new location.
If your new house is located outside of the normal geographic area for that number and your phone company offers you a service with an out-of-area number, your phone company must advise you that you may not be able to port your number to another phone company if you wish to port your number.
It is recommended that you contact your phone company to confirm whether it can provide service on your number at your new location. The next section provides information about porting out-of-area numbers.
Porting out-of-area numbers
Phone companies can supply customers with a telephone number outside its normal geographic area. For example, a customer who lives in Sydney may have a Melbourne number (03) 9XXX XXXX.
Customers with out-of-area numbers may not be able to port their number to another phone company because some phone companies won't accept the out-of-area number. This is because they use technology that prevents them from providing services to numbers that are out-of-area.
Out-of-area numbers are often provided by phone companies that offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services. If a phone company offers you an out-of-area number, they are obliged to notify you that you may not be able to port the number to another phone company.
Standard of service for ported numbers
Industry standards ensure that you will not be disadvantaged by choosing to port your number and that any difference in service between having a ported number and a non-ported number should be minimal.
For example, if you keep your telephone number when transferring from company A to company B, you can expect to receive the same level of service as any customer of company B.
The level of service that you receive must not be affected by your decision to keep your existing telephone number (this does not mean that company B has to necessarily provide the same range of services as company A).
The new company may not provide services such as:
- call waiting
- message bank
- other services the customer may have with the original provider.
You should check that you will get all the extra services that you need before agreeing to change providers.
Numbering plan and code rules
The Numbering Plan requires that phone companies:
- have the capability and technology to provide portability
- allow a customer to port away their number.
The ACMA has a role enforcing compliance with the Numbering Plan.
The ACMA also enforces compliance with registered industry codes, including the Local Number Portability (LNP) Code. The LNP Code outlines providers’ obligations relating to the porting of telephone numbers, including processes for porting and minimum acceptable practices (such as standard hours of operation, targets and timeframes).
More information on industry codes is available from the Communications Alliance Ltd.
Under the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act), phone companies must comply with the Numbering Plan and registered telecommunications industry codes. A failure to comply, such as a refusal to port a number, may lead to proceedings under Part 31 or the Act.
Complaints should be lodged with your telephone company in the first instance.
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
Customer Service Centre
1300 850 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org