There’s nothing like the anticipation of something new. A new baby. That new smartphone. Or even a new house. They all come with a to-do list before making the transition – some are longer and more arduous than others. Transitioning your business’s telecom solution is no different. Whether you are moving from a POTS Line-based analog solution to VoIP, or even just changing VoIP solution providers, there is a list of things that you will need to keep in mind as you are making the transition. Here are some of the common things to expect when you are expecting a new Unified Communications Solution.
Step 1: Assess your current telecom plan
How many numbers and/or extensions do you currently have? Do you need more? Map out these numbers and decide which numbers can be “out of service” during the transition and which are critical to day-to-day activities.
Can your number be ported? Just like a cell phone “contract” VoIP providers can have similar restrictions. The real “owner” of the number is the carrier, also known as the Competitive Local Exchange Carrier, or CLEC. Assuming there are no contract restrictions on canceling the current agreement, transferring of the number occurs directly between CLEC’s and it could happen anywhere from one day to one month. This is a result of the efficiency of the canceled CLEC and the new provider, so plan accordingly. Usually, once the FOC has been issued, the porting of the numbers will occur within 48 hours.
Also, keep in mind any dedicated fax or security alarm lines and how they will function after the switch to the new carrier.
Step 2: Check current Unified Communications Solution equipment interoperability with the new provider
One key factor you will need to check into prior to porting your numbers is your current Unified Communications (UC) Solutions equipment’s ability to work with your new provider. If you are switching between VoIP providers, this step isn’t as important, but when switching between a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) PBX and a VoIP, you may need to purchase additional equipment for the phones to work on the new network. Check with your new provider on what equipment they would recommend to ensure your transition is smooth.
Step 3: Port your numbers
Once you have assessed your current network plan and equipment needs, you will need to submit your LOA with a copy of your bill to your new provider, and your new provider will contact your current provider and let them know you are switching. Most providers will require 14 days notice before the switch can occur. You’ll also need to make sure you are not under a contract with the provider that can potentially stall or even incur specific cancellation fees. Once these hurdles are clear, you can start the port process.
The first order of business is to send to your new provider a letter of authorization (LOA) and a copy of your current bill.
Once your new provider has these documents, they will review and submit them to the gaining carrier.
From there, the gaining carrier will send a port request and request a FOC (firm order commitment) to the losing carrier. Once accepted, the losing carrier will issue a FOC date for when the number is able to be ported out.
Usually, this process is smooth and easy, however, if there are errors in the documentation at any point in the process, the losing carrier will give you the reason why and you have to start the process all over again. And don’t personally give the losing carrier a disconnect order…that actually will slow the entire process down.
Switching to a Unified Communications Solution is Easier Than You Think
With proper planning, the process of changing services for your Unified Communications Solution should be easy and streamlined and in the long run, can save your business money. Not only that, but many of the POTS line providers are beginning the process of moving customers to digital networks as the mandated maintenance requirements in POTS lines expire in August. Learn more today.