Mobile Number Portability Overview

Mobile number portability lets you keep your existing mobile number when changing service providers. Taking your number to another provider is known as 'porting'.

Porting means you can shop around for the best mobile rates and services without the hassle of having to change your mobile number.

Before changing providers:

  1. check that the provider can offer you the services and features you need
  2. do not cancel your existing mobile service before changing providers. This will prevent you from keeping your existing number.

Current Contractual Obligations

Changing providers does not cancel your contract obligations with your current provider so you may still need to:

  1. pay out your contract
  2. pay an early termination fee
  3. pay outstanding call charges.

Your existing provider cannot refuse or delay your request to move your number to a new service provider because of any outstanding debt.

You may choose to wait for your existing contract to expire before changing providers, but you should make sure you still have an active service (do not disconnect your service).

Authorised Customers

You can only change providers and port an existing mobile number if you are the authorised customer, that is, the person who has the mobile service account with the existing provider.

Porting a pre-paid service

A mobile number issued to a customer as part of a pre-paid service can be ported to a new provider.

Handsets sold as part of a pre-paid service are often 'Network locked'. If you want to use the same handset you may need to make arrangements with your existing service provider to have your handset unlocked. A fee may be charged.

Before changing providers ask yourself:

  1. When does my existing mobile service contract expire?
  2. Will I have to pay an early termination fee or ongoing costs (access charges) under my existing mobile service contract if I move my number to a new provider?
  3. Is my handset SIM locked and will I have to pay to have it unlocked before moving my number?
  4. Am I the authorised customer?
  5. What do I want from my mobile service? Which provider best meets my needs?

If the new provider fails to warn you that you may have existing contractual obligations or you do not properly authorise the transfer of your existing mobile number you do not have to proceed with the move. 

Keeping your existing mobile number

When you contact a new provider for a mobile service and want to keep your mobile phone number, the provider is obliged to:

  1. advise you that you may have outstanding charges payable or unfulfilled obligations with your existing provider and
  2. ask you for authorisation confirming your request to change providers and keep your mobile number.

Confirmation of authorisation may be:

  1. written (for example, where you sign a form)
  2. electronic (for example, where you agree to certain conditions on the Internet before proceeding) or
  3. voice (for example, where you agree to certain conditions described to you over the telephone by an operator or a voice recording).

The new provider will also:

  1. make sure your personal information is correct
  2. send messages to your existing provider to confirm your request.

Your existing provider will arrange for your phone number to be moved to the new provider. The new provider will make arrangements with other carriers for you to receive calls on that number with your new service.

You do not have to proceed with the move if:

  1. the new provider fails to warn you of existing contractual obligations
  2. you do not properly authorise the transfer of your existing mobile number
  3. If you believe your mobile number was moved without your authorisation you should contact your existing provider. 

How long should it take to move my number to a new provider?

Most changes take a few hours, but delays may be caused by system interruptions or periods of high demand. 

Can I get a new handset when moving my number to a new provider?

Yes. In most cases you will be entering into a new relationship when you move to the new provider and that is often the point at which customers decide to get a new handset.  However, if you are getting a new handset, you should check the contract to see if you will be paying for that phone.

Other factors to consider

Existing contractual terms and conditions

Check all terms and conditions of:

  1. your existing contract
  2. the new contract.

Service providers have to provide information about contract terms and conditions quickly and free of charge to their customers.

Taking advantage of special call rates/free calls on same network connections

Some mobile providers offer special low call rates between same network connections, making these calls very attractive. The ability to recognise networks is lost with number portability. To avoid unexpected call charges, mobile users should check with the person they are calling as to whether they are using the same mobile network.

Inclusion of mobile numbers in telephone directories

Mobile phone numbers are included in telephone directories on an opt-in (customer choice) basis, free of charge. Directory listing can be arranged with your current provider.

Supporting Documents

Supporting Documents are available at Mobile Number Portibility Publication Suite

C570:2009 Mobile Number Portability - Incorporating Amendment No.1/2015

C570:2009 (.pdf, 550KB)

The Industry Code has been developed to specify the procedural arrangements required to Port a Mobile Service Number between Carriage Service Providers, where there is a change in Mobile Carrier network. Elements of the Industry Code could be utilised by Carriers and Carriage Service Providers in other customer transfer scenarios. Carriers and Carriage Service Providers (including long distance CSPs) must fulfil their routing obligations under the Numbering Plan. This Industry Code provides for automated interfaces between Mobile Carriers/Carriage Service Providers to support Mobile Number Portability in the distribution of routing information.

In 2015 the following amendments were made:

  • deletion of clause stipulating that a CSP who receives any type of information as described in the Code may use or disclose this information only in accordance with Part 13 of the Act and the Privacy Act 1988 as it is replicated in clause 3.2.2;
  • removal of the condition that a CA is deemed to be invalid if the Customer validly rescinds or cancels a contract within the cooling off period in accordance with the applicable fair trading legislation, as this is inconsistent with the Australian Consumer Law;
  • removal of the section on GCSP Customer Information Obligations, with the intent being captured in the Customer Authorisation Industry Guideline (G651:2015);
  • removal of the section on Requirements for Customer Authorisations, with the intent being captured in the Customer Authorisation Industry Guideline (G651:2015);
  • removal of requirement to provide Reversal documentation ‘in writing’;
  • removal of clauses on CA Retention, CA Completion, and completion of a CA by an agent; and
  • removal of the Code Administration and Compliance Scheme and obligations on Communications Alliance to handle industry complaints under the Code Administration and Compliance Scheme.

Specific details of the amendments are set out in Appendix A of the Code.

Reproduced in cooperation with the ACMA.