Number Portability Administration Center

What is the Number Portability Administration Center?

The Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) is a crucial system within the telecommunications industry that facilitates the seamless transfer of fixed, wireless, VoIP or IP phone numbers between different service providers. It acts as a central database that maintains records of phone number assignments and their corresponding service providers. The NPAC enables consumers to retain phone numbers when switching carriers, enhancing competition and customer choice. This system is pivotal in ensuring that number portability processes are accurate, efficient, and comply with regulatory standards. It is the backbone of the number porting process, contributing to a smoother experience for consumers and telecommunication companies. 

Why should you care about the Number Portability Administration Center? 

The United States Federal Communications Commission passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to enable local number portability amongst its local exchange carriers. The communications industry services (CIS) was the division who originally implemented the number portability administration center (NPAC). 

The NPAC began its work as a database of information necessary to enable number portability. It showed how to route and bill telephone calls to numbers which were no longer associated with their original service providers. Today, there are eight regional NPAC databases with data related to porting activities and switching numbers. 

iconectiv, the country’s local number portability administrator (LNPA), manages the NPAC to this day. It currently manages over 500 million telephone numbers for thousands of carriers across the United States and Canada. 

Canada’s local equivalent is the Canadian Local Number Portability Consortium (CLNPC), which serves an analogous role of maintaining “true telecom market openness.” The agency began under the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in 1997. 

The Telecommunications Act of 1996, as part of its effort to increase market competition in the telecom space, guarantees the right of number portability to telephony customers and requires local exchange carriers (LECs) to relinquish control of phone numbers when the client wants to move them to another service provider. 

There are many reasons why a commercial telephony client might want to switch carriers, including: 

  • There’s a better price available on the market, or the contract terms are more agreeable elsewhere. 
  • Communication needs have changed, and you need new features not available with your current carrier. Support for voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is a common reason for changing carriers. 
  • You’ve had problems with your current carrier, such as poor customer support or too many disruptions in service. 
  • You’re consolidating your communications services into a single vendor to streamline budget. 

The Number Portability Administration Center contribution to the number porting process is invaluable. The United States Federal Communications Commission requires local exchange carriers to support number porting. Doing so allows commercial and residential customers to change service providers freely and encourages market competition in the telecommunications industry.  

When you start the porting process, your new carrier is the “winning carrier”, while your old one is the “losing carrier”. The winning carrier sends a service order to the losing one, which then provides the subscriber with a Firm Order Commitment (FOC) to verify the phone number will be available to the winning provider at a specified date.  

Successful number porting requires close communication between the two carriers to prevent service interruptions. The Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) facilitates this step by obtaining relevant information from the losing party and working with local exchange carriers to complete the porting transaction.  

The NPAC ensures this procedure goes smoothly. For instance, the subscriber may need to update submitted documentation as the FOC may have incorrect or incomplete contact information.  

What are the benefits of the Number Portability Administration Center?  

The Number Portability Administration Center offers significant advantages to both customers and providers in the telecommunications industry. For customers, NPAC enables flexibility and choice by allowing cohesive transitions between service providers without changing phone numbers. This minimizes user disruption and promotes market competition. Supporting number portability demonstrates a commitment to customer convenience which fosters loyalty. The NPAC benefits providers by encouraging a competitive environment, streamlined operations, and enhanced customer satisfaction. Overall, the NPAC plays crucial role on creating a customer-centric focus in an evolving telecommunications environment. 

How does Sinch work with the Number Portability Administration Center?  

As a tier-1 telecommunications carrier providing high-quality voice solutions to businesses of all sizes in the United States and Europe — Sinch works directly with regulatory bodies like the number portability administration center to ensure our services are not only world-class, but compliant with current regulations. 

Ensure you’re receiving the best and most compliant services possible. Get in touch with Sinch today and discover how we can help.