How long does it take to port a number?

3rd October 2019

Any number of reasons can compel an individual to change phone companies in the UK. Maybe they dislike the customer service. Maybe they want to save on costs. Or maybe they are changing geographical locations and their new phone company offers a better signal for the area.

Regardless of the reasons, once you change phone companies, you have the option of porting your number from your old phone company to the new one. And this process sounds so straightforward. After all, phone technology has come so far, with VoIP leading the charge in so many circles.

However, things are never that simple. First of all, let us answer the most important question on the table: How long does number portability take? How long must you wait before your number transitions from the old service provider to the new one?

An expert in this field will encourage you to plan for seven, possibly even ten days. But it isn’t that unheard of for number porting to take four weeks, if not more.

That raises a second question. Why does Number Porting take so long in some cases? What determines the duration you have to wait and where do some of these delays come from? Well, there are quite a few answers to these questions:


Your old phone company doesn’t hold all the power in this situation. They can’t just fiddle with a switchboard somewhere and then magically complete the number porting process. Your new company has a role to play. Once you submit a request for a transfer, the new company has to respond to it.

The longer they take to respond, the longer you have to wait. Most phone companies respond within a day.


Sometimes, the phone companies, new or old, are not at fault. Sometimes, they are waiting on you to submit the necessary identification information. Before you can transfer a number, the new phone company will expect you to provide some sort of documentation proving that you own the phone number in question.

If you do not provide this documentation when required, your application will delay and the transfer will take even longer.


Whenever you make a request, the parties involved have the option of approving your request or rejecting it. Number porting requests are no different. If your current phone company rejects your request to transfer your number, you must take steps to identify the cause of such opposition and to resolve it. But this is going to lengthen the transfer process.


Some numbers are much easier to transfer than others. Phone numbers with special features like forwarding create complications. You can still transfer them to your new phone company but it is going to take time.

To be clear, if there are delays in the transfer of your number to a new phone company, you don’t have to sit back and wait patiently. Call the involved parties and find out why there are delays. Of course, some delays can’t be avoided.

VoIP and cloud technologies have introduced so many advancements to the telecommunications arena. But there are still gaps that cause unavoidable delays.

For further enquiries about our Number Portability service, please call us free on 0800 357 622 to speak with one of our agents.