One of the major advantages of VoIP is its flexibility. It’s easy to scale up your service as and when you need to, and it’s easy to relocate your business to a different site. It’s also simple to switch your phone number from your old PSTN service so that there’s minimal disruption for your staff and customers.

Switching to VoIP

When you change your phone service to VoIP, you get a number of advantages. These include lower call costs, greater flexibility and the ability to connect all parts of your business via a single system.

You need an internet connection of course and if this is shared with your data traffic, you need measures in place to ensure that sufficient bandwidth is reserved for voice and you must take steps to keep it secure. Once you’ve decided to make the switch you will, of course, want to keep your existing phone number.

Keeping your number

In the UK, the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has ruled that you must be able to port your number between providers. This applies equally whether you are switching to a new mobile provider or moving your entire business phone system to a specialist in affordable, wholesale DID origination such as IDT.

Transferring your number isn’t difficult, but you do need to follow the process that’s laid down. There will also be a small fee involved for making the transfer. So, here’s what you do.

Firstly you need to open an account with your new service provider. They will provide you with a new number at this point, but don’t worry about that. Make sure that your old number is still in service (don’t cancel your contract with your old supplier yet!) and that you own the number. You’ll need documentary evidence of this; an old phone bill is ideal.

Make sure that there are no other changes pending on the line, such as broadband migration and that you are nearing the end of your existing phone contract or you may be hit with an early cancellation fee.

Now you’re ready to start the transfer process. Ask your new supplier for a porting request form; some companies have these available to download from their website. You may also need to provide a ‘letter of authority’ stating your intention to port the number. Complete all this documentation carefully as mistakes can mean delays.

Send all of this documentation, together with your proof of entitlement to the number, to your new VoIP provider for them to begin the transfer process. You don’t need to tell your existing provider at this point.

Once the transfer is underway, it can take from a couple of weeks to perhaps a month or so to complete. During this period you can use your old number and the one provided by your new supplier side by side. Once the process is complete, you will be able to use your old number on your new service.