Porting your mobile number: Everything you need to know
3 July 2023
‘Port’ is a fancy word for ‘transfer’ so click to learn all about transfering your number from one provider to another.
Picture this: a phone number, weary of its monotonous existence, yearns for a change of scenery. It dreams of embracing a different telco, sampling more affordable mobile plans, and basking in the glory of a fast network. But how does this seemingly impossible feat occur? How does a number wave farewell to its old telco and embark on a thrilling journey to greener pastures? The answer, is number porting.
But what is ‘number porting’? ‘Porting’ is the official term but ‘port’ is just a fancy word for ‘transfer’ (and one that’s mainly used for telecommunications and carrying your canoe over rocks between pools of water).
Though ‘porting’ is standard practice these days, there are a few things you need to know to ensure your number switches across to your new provider seamlessly. So we’ve compiled this guide.
In some parts of this guide, we’ll assume you’ve chosen amaysim as your new provider but the information is valid no matter which telecommunications provider you’re moving from or to.
Fun fact: In the early days of mobile phones, transferring your number to a new provider simply wasn’t possible. It wasn’t until 25 September 2001 - a full 20 years after Australia’s first mobile network was launched - that ‘Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was introduced.
Things to know about porting (transferring) your phone number
Taking your number with you when you change phone companies isn’t difficult and telecommunications companies are required by law to allow numbers to be transferred. However, there are some rare times when this doesn’t work in practice, such as if the new provider doesn’t support your new device or service the geographical area you live in.
Some other issues to be aware of before you make a decision to port your number are:
You can only transfer an active phone number so don’t cancel your current plan until the number has been fully transferred.
To be ported, a number needs to be in your name so double check the account the number is connected to is in your name before starting a transfer process.
Most numbers can be ported but not all so check in with your preferred new provider before starting a new plan or ordering a new SIM card (or eSIM).
Some phone companies will charge a fee to port your number so double check this and factor this cost into your decision about changing provider. If fees apply, you can ask for them to be reduced or waived but this is not guaranteed.
How long does it take to port a number? Usually between an hour (or less) and a couple of days. Officially, number porting can take up to 7 days but if yours is taking more than a few days (or you haven’t had any messages from either provider), it’s worth following up.
Number transfers require human assistance so they only happen during business hours (which are usually Monday-Fridays between 8am-8pm and Saturdays from 10am-6pm). So, for a quicker transfer process, avoid starting a number transfer on Saturday evening or on (or just before) a public holiday).
Step-by-step guide to porting (transferring) your mobile number.
How to port your phone number? Work through our easy-to-follow steps:
- Research new providers. As part of your usual comparison of rates and charges, check whether you are able to port your number to your preferred new provider and whether there’s a cost. Also check whether there are any early termination fees applicable with your current provider.
- Grab your existing provider info. Get your ducks lined up by making sure you’ve got your personal information (account number and perhaps a recent bill) from your existing provider to hand. While you’re at it, make sure your payments are up to date.
- Do not cancel your current account. Wait until your number has been successfully transferred or you run the risk of your number being deactivated.
- Set up an account with your new provider. Select the option to keep your existing number as you’re setting up your account and ordering your new SIM / eSIM.
- Wait for your new provider to arrange the transfer. You won’t have to wait long but it might be anywhere from less than an hour to a few days (avoid prompting a transfer on a Sunday or public holiday to avoid longer delays). Keep your old provider’s SIM in your phone until the signal disappears (or displays SOS).
- Follow any instructions from both providers. Some providers, including amaysim, to protect against unauthorised number porting, will send you an sms code as a way of verifying your request. You can keep using your old provider’s SIM during processes like this.
- Insert your new SIM. Once your signal disappears (you can still use wi-fi), you can insert your new SIM card or activate your new eSIM and restart your phone.
- Cancel your old plan. Sometimes this is done automatically for you but if not, you can now cancel your account with your old provider.
- Enjoy your new phone plan. All without the hassle of changing your number!
Taking your number with you when you change providers should be (and usually is) simple and straightforward and you should be able to make the switch without needing to ask for help or speaking with anyone in customer service.
If you’re transferring your number to amaysim, the straightforward process can all be done online. Simply include details related to your current number and we’ll take it from there.
However, if anything is unclear or if your circumstances are unusual, do take the time to make direct contact with your preferred new provider before activating a transfer as a way of preventing delays or problems.
Similarly, if you are unsure of anything once the porting process has started or if you’ve been waiting for more than a couple of days without any messages from your old or new providers, it’s time to get assistance. In this case, the best place to start is the help services of your newly selected provider (details are available here for getting in touch with amaysim if we’re your chosen new provider).
Common reasons for a number transfer railing are that you’ve entered account details, a name or date of birth that don’t match the phone number. Or that you’ve told your new provider that you’re on a Pre paid service rather than Post paid plan (or vice versa). If this has happened and your new provider is amaysim, here’s some trouble shooting info, including how to re-submit the transfer request.
And, if you’ve got a new phone as part of transferring your number to a new provider and would like some tips on how to not lose any of your valuable data, see our How to Transfer from an iPhone to an Android Device guide.
If you’re interested in finding a great new mobile or data plan for your number, check out amazing amaysim offers here!
Can I port my mobile number online?
Almost definitely! You can port (remember, that’s just a fancy word for transfer) any mobile number starting with the numbers 04. That includes pre paid services. Even suspended numbers can be ported (though you’ll have to do whatever your telco company needs for the number to be unsuspended first). However disconnected numbers are not able to be transferred (though you can ask to ‘reclaim’ a disconnected number if it’s still being in the 6-12 month ‘quarantine’ period before being allocated to someone else.
Do I need a new SIM card to port my number?
You’ll usually need a new SIM card to transfer your number to a new mobile phone service. It’s crucial before signing up to a new plan that you check with your new provider whether they’ll accept the transfer of your number and what’s involved.
Why do people port their number?
The main reason people want their phone number transferred is simply that they want to change providers but don’t want the hassle of getting a new phone number. Perhaps another telecommunications provider has a better offer or a cheaper deal, or you’ve moved to a region of Australia that has better coverage with another telco. You can even potentially transfer your number to someone else (though this is at the discretion of the provider and you obviously need the other person’s full permission).
What happens to my existing plan if I port my number?
Your existing plan will end however make sure you don’t cancel that plan before your number has been fully and successfully transferred (usually between an hour and a couple of business days). Otherwise, you risk your number being listed as ‘disconnected’ rather than transferred.
Is porting mobile number safe?
Yes. You can only transfer your number if both the existing and new accounts clearly belong to you. The process is then straightforward. In the unlikely event that your number is ported without your permission, you can follow the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s outlined process to reclaim your number. To ensure you have no interruptions to your mobile service, act quickly on any steps requested by your new provider and ensure you’re up to date with payments owed to your previous provider. For more tips about staying safe online, please see our How to Stay Safe guide.
How long to port mobile number Australia?
How long it takes to port a number in Australia varies but generally happens within somewhere between one hour and a couple of days. Note that mobile number porting only happens in business hours so, for a speedier transfer, avoid initiating a port on (or just before) a Saturday evening, Sunday or public holiday.