Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the name for the different technologies that allow telephone calls to be made over the internet, as opposed to the public switched telephone network.
Local number portability (LNP) lets you change the 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.
Keeping my number
If your service is provided using a local geographic number (i.e. a 10 digit number starting with 02, 03, 07 or 08) that number is a portable number. The fact that your number is provided via a VoIP service or is used as a fax service has no bearing on the phone company’s obligation to port your number.
Your current phone company must port your telephone number 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 and you must not disconnect your existing service as only an active telephone number can be ported.
Porting out-of-area numbers
Some 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 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. More information about out-of-area geographic numbers can be found here.
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.
Numbering plan and code rules
The Numbering Plan requires that phone companies:
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 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 of 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.
Introduction to VoIP
Local Number Portability: Keeping Your Number
Understanding VoIP numbers and Call Charges
Out-of-Area Geographic Numbers
Number Portability Overview
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