Number portability is a service that allows a subscriber to select a new telephone carrier without requiring a new number to be issued. Typically, it is the responsibility of the former carrier to “map” the old number to the undisclosed number assigned by the new carrier. This is achieved by maintaining a database of numbers. A dialed number is initially received by the original carrier and quickly rerouted to the new carrier. Multiple porting references must be maintained even if the subscriber returns to the original carrier. Most VoIP providers in Canada do offer the ability to port your number; some do it for Free (such as the case of Phone Power) or others may charge a onetime fee, ranging from $20 to $30 dollars.
Should be noted number portability applies to landlines, wireless and VoIP lines. This means that you may be able to keep your phone number when switching between VoIP, land-line or wireless services.
This allows greater flexibility for the normal consumer as the number remains the same after the initial transition. In Canada it takes between a week and up to 21 days to port a number depending on who is doing the transfer. There are some providers in the market that are already offering the porting service for free to attract customers. Though keep in mind if you want to keep your existing number, don’t cancel the service with your current home phone provider until number has been successfully ported.
Also whenever you change service providers, you may still have a contract with your current service provider. Check your service agreement to find out whether you’ll have to pay any penalties for switching before the end of a term.
Note, the traditional carriers such as Bell and/or Rogers may try to persuade you to keep their services with counter offers. Though realistically they may never get to offer the savings + features VoIP does . Especially with features such as Voicemail, Caller ID, Voicemail to Email and nationwide long-distance; in which cases all are typically provided as part of a standard flat fee plan.