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Can I Keep My Phone Number For VoIP?

Updated on February 26, 2013
VoIP and Number Portability
VoIP and Number Portability

Limitations on Porting Numbers

Over the years, the FCC has evolved a set of guidelines based on the Local Number Portability or LNP rules that allow you to keep your old cell phone number when you change your telecom carrier. But this is only possible if you maintain the same geographic area as before. This is because telephone numbers are still tied down strongly to a user's physical location. If you move to a different state for example where your existing carrier does not have coverage, you may simply have to give up your old telephone number.

Switching to a VoIP service is no different. Most of the time you will merely be replacing your existing PSTN phone system with VoIP. For a business, losing a long-standing telephone number is more than a matter of inconvenience. It's a question of branding. Many times that particular number would be associated with your services. You don't want all of your past marketing campaign efforts to go down the drain by changing it. Fortunately VoIP also allows you to port your existing PSTN telephone number.

If you choose to do this, you will not receive a new telephone address from your local VoIP provider. The side benefit of this is that you're not locked in – you can even switch services later on if you need to.

VoIP Numbers Are Leased

Unlike with regular phone numbers that you obtain from the telecom company, VoIP providers do not own the addresses allotted to them. Rather, they are leased and provided to you. This means that if you start off your Internet calling with the telephone number of your San Francisco VoIP services provider, you cannot switch over to another without losing it. This is something that you should be careful about. You don't want to get locked in to any particular vendor with no way out other than replacing your business phone number.

It seems to be a far preferable option to port your PSTN number when you switch to VoIP rather than requesting a brand-new DID one. This will allow you to maintain flexibility. Even though it can be a pain in the neck to switch providers, it may be necessary at a later point in time.

Unlike with the traditional PSTN phone system however, you will not need to change VoIP PBX systems merely because you move to a new geographic location. All that you require is an Internet connection and that is available anywhere in the world. This also means that you can sign up all of your offices in different states or even countries for the same service in order to avail of free intercompany VoIP calls. Just one of the perks of switching to an Internet-based service.

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