VoIP users may keep their existing phone number, inherited from the traditional telephone service provider, to make and receive calls over the internet. In the United Kingdom, Ofcom has in fact made it mandatory for service providers to allow users to port their original phone number. This also goes for 0800 numbers, which must be ported when users require so.
Porting VoIP phone numbers may however take time. In the United Kingdom, BT has suggested specific timescale for typical VoIP phone number porting situations:
- Porting a single line should take within seven working days,
- Porting a PBX system of up to ten lines, ten days at most,
- Porting a multi-line - that is, more than ten lines - VoIP phone number network, up to seventeen working days,
- And finally, porting a PBX of more than ten lines, or Centrex, as much as twenty working days.
But once again, these are only industry recommendations.
Call forwarding may be enabled during the changeover period. Users willing to port their VoIP phone number need to ask their provider for a “Letter of Authority”, which users have to fill in and send back to this provider by e-mail or fax. One such document needs to be filled for every single VoIP phone number which has to be ported.
One thing that business users should know though is that besides keeping their number, they can also ask their service provider to create virtually any available geographic VoIP phone number they wish to use, no matter where offices are physically located.
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