Moving your business but cant move your BT number?

By Alan
New to VoIP

Moving your business but cant move your BT number?

In this article we look at the problems that many UK businesses face when they move premises and try to move a BT number.

The problem

One of the problems with the traditional telephone numbering system with BT (and other suppliers) is that the telephone numbers are geographically bound to the local telephone exchange.  This creates the problem that when you move premises and want to move your BT number.  You might find yourself using a different local telephone exchange even in the same town or city in the same STD code area, which would mean that the number cannot be moved, and you might not be able to keep your telephone number.

The loss of a business's main telephone number is potentially a huge threat to any business.  The cost of changing a long established business telephone number could be huge, not only in terms of printing costs but also the cost of informing existing customers, and the potential loss of older customers.

What can BT do?

The only way that you can mitigate this problem with BT is to accept a new telephone number in the new location with BT, and then keep the old line active and set call forwarding.

The problems with this are-

  • The cost of diverting calls

  • The potential cost of someone else using that line at the old premises and making calls on your account.


There is another way

BT probably won't tell you this but there is another way to move your telephone number to any location, at little cost, and allowing much more flexibility in the future.

The way to do this is to 'port' your telephone number(s) to the cloud, using a hosted telephone system provider like vivi®.

How this works

This process is governed by Ofcom and is almost exactly the same procedure used when porting mobile telephone numbers from one network to another.

The process of porting to the cloud is simple (a couple of simple forms and its all taken care of by the provider), and allows a high degree of flexibility in the future.  This is because once the telephone number is no longer bound to the local telephone exchange and has ported, it lives in the cloud and is free of its previous restrictions, allowing it to be pointed anywhere at any time.

How long does this take?

You can normally move your BT number to a cloud based hosted VoIP provider in around 14 days.  Dealing with BT or other suppliers can however present a number of variables in this timescale, and moving your BT number could take longer if the correct details are now supplied when the paperwork is submitted.

How does this work?

The difference in the way in which a cloud based hosted provider like vivi® handles calls compared to the way in which BT handle them is as follows-

BT (or other provider)

  • Calls made to the number go to the BT network

  • BT point the calls to the local exchange

  • The local exchange routes the call to the correct copper line for your number

  • The call is carried to the socket that your handset or PBX switchboard is connected to.


vivi® (or other hosted provider)

  • Calls made to the number go to the BT network

  • BT point the calls to the provider instead of the local exchange

  • The call is then handled by the provider, and passed down to the handsets using the internet, or diverts the calls to other telephone numbers (landline or mobile) as appropriate.


If you change your mind

Have you ported your number to the cloud but don't like your provider?  What happens if you change your mind?

Most cloud based providers like vivi® use BT in order to facilitate a 'ported' telephone number.  This means that BT always hold the number and pass it to the hosted network for processing.

In the event of requiring a change of provider, you can simply contact BT and request a port to a different provider.

This is the case with most providers, but not all.  Some large providers (who we cannot name for legal reasons) do not use BT as a host provider when porting a number, making the process of reversing this process very difficult.  This is because in order to facilitate a port successfully, the new provider must have a porting agreement with the losing provider.  If the losing providers numbers are with a minority network that no one has a porting agreement with, then the port will fail.


About vivi®

vivi® own and operate a cloud based business VoIP network and have been delivering communications solutions since 1996.

Last updated Friday 20-2-2015 11.45:00am


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