February 14, 2022

TextNow 101: Porting

Written by kevin-c

Tips & Tricks

We get a whole lot of questions about porting (transferring your current number to a new carrier) here at TextNow HQ. Understandably, because porting is a weird and opaque process for any carrier. So, we thought we'd take the time here to go over some frequently asked questions and give you some useful background on the process:

Respect my (porting) authority

There are a lot of cell phone carriers out in the world – thirty in the US alone at last count. Rather than leave porting up to individual carriers, the FCC mandated a single centralized organization that would oversee and administer number porting – meet the porting authority.

What happens when you port a number? The carrier sends a request to the porting authority, who then either accepts the request or rejects it (usually because of incorrect information given), and then facilitates the porting from one carrier to another.

One at a time

The porting authority is also what enforces the number on one carrier at a time. Let's say you want to port the number 555-555-1212 from your current carrier to TextNow. If your number is active on your carrier, then once you port it, it is no longer on your previous carrier, and is now "with" TextNow. Think of your number like the baton in a relay; one carrier hands your number off to your new carrier.

Porting to TextNow

OK, that's the background on porting. Now what if you want to port your number to TextNow to take advantage of that sweet free Nationwide Talk & Text Service?

First: You need to have a US number. Sorry, Canada and the rest of the world, we can only port numbers that are currently with US carriers.

Second: You'll need to be either on Nationwide Talk & Text or using a data add-on with TextNow. While we're not able to port numbers into free accounts, we can port numbers out of free accounts. (To port your number out, you can contact our customer care team using the purple chat bubble on our site for help and we'll work with you on the next steps.)

Third: We're going to need some info about your number, which you can get from your previous or current carrier. What kind of info? Things like an account number, account holder name, etc. Each carrier is slightly different, but no worries, we've put together a page that outlines exactly what we need from each carrier.

Once you’ve got all that info together, head on over to our support page at https://help.textnow.com. Click or tap the purple chat bubble on the bottom right, ask to speak to an agent, and then click/tap ‘Get in touch’ when prompted to speak to an agent.

For more help and info, check out our support article about porting on our help site!