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Port a customer's phone number

As a telco, you must know and follow the rules to help customers keep their phone numbers when changing to another provider.

Customers may port numbers for local, mobile, freephone and local rate services. 

The rules

Chapter 10 of the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 sets out the rules for porting numbers.

The Telecommunications (Mobile Number Pre-Porting Additional Identity Verification) Industry Standard 2020 sets out the additional steps that telcos must take before porting a mobile number.

Industry codes set out the rules and procedures between telcos to help a customer keep their phone number, including time frames for porting.

What you must do

If another telco asks you (at the customer's request) to port out a local, mobile, freephone or local rate number, as the losing telco, you:

  • must port the number
  • cannot refuse or delay porting the number even if your customer owes you money.

As the gaining telco, you must:

  • have permission from the customer to start the port
  • tell the customer not to disconnect their service, as only an active service can be ported
  • tell the customer that there may be costs for changing telcos (for example, they might have to pay an early termination fee)
  • give the customer information about contract terms and conditions.

Port a mobile phone number

The Mobile Number Portability Code sets out the procedures for porting a mobile phone number between telcos.

The key requirements include:

  • before porting a number, you must check that the customer is the rights-of-use holder
  • 90% of ports must be completed within 3 hours
  • 99% of ports must be completed within 2 business days
  • if a port is a mistake or unlawful (for example, if someone has stolen a number), follow the port reversal process in the code.

The Industry Standard aims to:

  • provide safeguards
  • address harms caused by mobile number porting fraud.

It sets out extra steps you (as the gaining telco) must take to verify the identity of those requesting ports prior to the request being actioned. These steps can vary across retail, call centre or online environments. You must also publish customer awareness and safeguard information on your website.

The identity processes:

  • Retail—telco calls the mobile number to be ported while customer is in store. Telco verifies the call has been received by the customer’s mobile device.
  • Call centre—telco calls back the mobile number to be ported to check that the person asking for the port is the actual customer.
  • Online—a unique verification code is sent via SMS to the customer’s mobile device. This code is then verified by the customer.

Port a local phone number

The Local Number Portability Code sets out the procedures for porting a local phone number between telcos.

The key requirements include:

  • rules for porting apply to you if you issue a number for your customer, and to any upstream telcos that provide your customer with a local service
  • you cannot contract out of your obligations
  • a number from a group of numbers (for example, a block of 100 numbers) can be ported individually.

Port a freephone or local rate phone number

The Inbound Number Portability Code sets out the procedures for porting freephone numbers (1800) and local rate numbers (13, 1300) between telcos.

The key requirements include:

  • rules for porting apply to you if you issue a number to your customer, and to any other telcos that provide your customer with a local service
  • all telcos involved must complete the inbound number portability carrier contact matrix in the portability code.

Rules for migrating to the NBN

There are rules in the Consumer Information Standard and the Service Continuity Standard to help people keep their local phone number when moving to the national broadband network (NBN). You must:

  • let your customer know whether they can keep their number when migrating to the NBN before entering a contract
  • not disconnect your customer’s service until their NBN service is operational
  • make sure that your customer can keep using their number on the NBN if they are not changing telcos.
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