HomeBusinessWhat Is An LOA and When Will My Number Get Ported?

What Is An LOA and When Will My Number Get Ported?

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A Letter of Authorization (LOA) is a letter that you send to your telecom provider when you want to switch to a new phone service but keep your old phone number. It lets both your new and old phone company know that you’re the one who is actually requesting the change. Whether you’re switching over your landline, cell phone, or VoIP phone service, you’ll need an LOA to complete the process.

The most important part of this process is that you don’t cancel your old phone service directly after submitting your LOA. Porting a number can take time—up to a couple of weeks in some instances—so be sure you wait to hear from your new provider before canceling your old service.

What Is An LOA in Telecom?

LOAs are letters containing detailed information about your identity as well as your current phone service and the phone service you want to port your number to. Sometimes also referred to as a Letter of Agency, your LOA also contains a short note telling your old and new telecom companies that you want to switch services.

LOAs are used by telecom companies to confirm that a user wants to port their number. In your LOA, you’ll give the new phone company all the information it needs to confirm your identity and make the necessary changes to your service. Some telecom companies provide their users with a template for an LOA, but if not, you’ll have to create one yourself.

After you sign the LOA and send it back to your new phone service provider, the company will review it and confirm your identity. It will then send a Local Service Request (LSR) to your current phone service provider, which is a formal way of asking the old provider to start the porting process. The LSR also goes to the Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) that your new phone service provider is a part of. This is the company that owns the phone numbers.

Once the CLEC receives the necessary documentation, it’ll send the LOA and LSR to the CLEC for your old phone service provider. They’ll then issue a Firm Commitment Order (FOC), which tells your new phone service provider the date that the number will be ported.

Your old provider is meant to process your request in a timely manner, but the process can sometimes get bogged down with their CLEC. Since the CLEC doesn’t want to lose a paying customer, it may try to find reasons to reject the FSR. For instance, if your LOA has your current address on it, but your phone plan is still registered at your old address, your old phone company’s CLEC may kick the LSR back to the new company’s CLEC, and you’ll have to edit your address and try again.

Why Do I Need an LOA To Port Phone Numbers?

While all this might sound like an overly complicated process (with a lot of acronyms) for something as simple as porting a number, it’s all about security. 

With telecom scams on the rise, it’s important for businesses to be able to confirm the identity of the person requesting changes to an account, especially for something as big a change as a number port. That’s why you have to jump through some hoops if you want to keep your old number but switch phone services.

It may be annoying, but it’s meant to protect you so that not just anyone can make changes to your phone service.

Where an LOA Fits Into the Number Porting Process

Usually, an LOA contains the following information: 

  • Your name
  • Your billing address
  • Your current phone number
  • The name of your new service provider
  • Your new VoIP phone numbers
  • The name of your old service provider
  • Your account number with the old service provider
  • Your account PIN, if you have one
  • A copy of your current phone bill or invoice
  • Copies of your ID

It’s important that each one of these elements is filled out correctly and that the information you provide on your LOA matches the information that your old phone company has on record. 

If not, their CLEC could reject your request and you’ll have to start the process all over again. 

Remember, your old phone service is looking for reasons to not lose a customer. So don’t give them one.

The Process of Number Porting

  1. Start by researching providers and choosing the right one for your needs. Don’t change services on a whim; make sure you take the time to think about what you need and why you’re switching from your old service. Then, research new providers and see what features and benefits they offer. Make sure it’s able to port your number—most are, but you don’t want to waste your time if they can’t.
  2. Get in touch with both your old provider and your new provider. Let each one know what’s going on, and ask them if there’s any paperwork that you need to fill out. The provider may be able to give you a template for an LOA.
  3. Gather your information. Get all the information for your LOA together. Most of it, like your name and address, are easy. But you’ll also want to have things like your account number and copies of your ID ready to go.
  4. Complete the LOA and any other paperwork the companies give you. Write a short letter saying that you want to switch from your old service to a new service. Include all the information you gathered in the previous step. And be sure to fill out any other documents either company gives you.
  5. Wait for confirmation before canceling your service. We can’t emphasize this enough—do not cancel your service until you receive confirmation from your new provider and you’re 100% sure your new service is connected and working.
  6. Test your new service out for a few days. Once you get a notice from your new provider, take a couple of days to try it out. Look for any issues and report them immediately to the new provider. 
  7. Then and only then, end your contract with your old provider. Once you’re totally sure that you’re happy with your new service, get in touch with your old provider to cancel your service.

To reiterate the most important point of this article one more time—do not cancel your old phone service before you have your new one completely set up. 

While most requests for porting happen pretty smoothly and don’t take very long, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. The last thing you want is to end up without an active phone service because you canceled your old service too soon.

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