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Keep or port your phone number

You can usually keep your phone number when you change from one telco to another. This is known as a ‘port' or ‘transfer’.

You can also ask to move your number to someone else, such as a family member. This is known as a 'move’.

Numbers you can port

You can usually port a:

  • local number (starting with 02, 03, 07 and 08)
  • mobile number (starting with 04), including for a prepaid service 
  • freephone (1800) or local rate (13 and 1300) number (telcos call this an 'inbound service').

Some telcos let you port an out-of-area local number. For example, you may be moving to Sydney but want to keep your Melbourne local number, which starts with (03). Check with your new telco if they allow this. 

Only active numbers can be ported:

  • you can port a suspended number as the number is still active. You will still have to meet any contract obligations you have with the telco that suspended your number.
  • you cannot port a disconnected number as the number is no longer active. If a telco disconnects your service, you no longer have rights to the number.

How to port your number

Your current telco must port your number to a new telco, if you or your new telco ask them to. The new telco will usually accept a port request, but it doesn’t have to. 

So, before you sign up with a new telco, check whether they will let you take your current number with you.

You don’t need a new phone to port your number. If you are porting a mobile number, you just need a new SIM card.

If the new telco accepts your port request, they will organise the porting process.

Customer authorisation

Your new telco must get your permission to port your number. They must also check that you are the account holder before it goes ahead. 

For mobile number ports, telcos must do an additional identity check before porting to protect you from fraud and identity theft. Your telco can confirm your identity by:

  • sending you a unique code via SMS that you need to verify
  • calling your mobile number and asking you to verify your request
  • asking to see your identity documents.

Timeframes for porting a number

It usually takes 3 hours to port a mobile number. Local number ports take longer. 

From 1 December 2023, telcos will generally be required to complete ports within 8 to 15 days for individual local numbers. However, more complex ports (more than one local number) can take up to 30 days (with limited exceptions).

Your new telco should tell you when the port is complete.

Number disconnection

When your number is disconnected, it will be placed in quarantine for 6 to 12 months and you will no longer have rights to use the number.

If your telco disconnects your number in error, during the porting process or at any other time, the telco that is holding your number in quarantine must re-issue the number to you within one business day if you ask them to. Find out more about reclaiming your number.

Fees for porting your number

Your previous telco might charge you a fee for porting your number to a new telco. For example, some telcos may charge $8 to port a mobile number. Higher fees may apply for local number ports.

You must also pay any final bills that your previous telco issues to you.

If you think a telco has charged you incorrectly, you should first check your contract, and if the charges are unreasonable, you can complain to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Move your number to someone else

Numbers can be moved from one customer to another.

You can ask your telco to move your number to someone else if you are the account holder. The account holder is the person who was issued the number by the telco. 

Your telco might be able to move the number, but they do not have to.

Customer identity authentication rules

To protect you from fraud and identity theft, telcos must follow rules to authenticate your identity. Strong ID checks help stop scams.

Telcos must use 2 or more proofs of identity before undertaking a high-risk transaction such as a moving a number or a SIM swap. A telco may confirm your identity by sending you a unique verification code or by calling your number.

This is to make sure the person requesting the transaction is you, or the authorised representative.

Keeping your number when moving to the NBN

Telcos must follow the rules that help you keep your local phone number when they move your service to the NBN.

Telcos must let you know if you can keep your number before you enter a contract to move your service to the NBN.

If your telco goes out of business

If your telco goes out of business, you need to port your number to another telco.

If your service is disconnected, you need to request the new telco (or the carrier that originally held number) to reissue your number to you.

Problems with porting your number

If you have a problem with porting your number, complain to your telco first.

If you cannot resolve your issue, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

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