Network Number Porting - The Facts

Mobile Number Portability, What Is It?

(MNP), or Network Porting, or simply switching Networks gives you the power to switch your current cell phone network or service provider to a network of your choosing but still keep your existing cell phone number.

In South Africa we have four Network Service Operating Providers namely; VodacomCell CMTN and Telkom. Each Network is of course after your business, and to get your business they will constantly create new offerings in order to persuade you to switch over. However there is one problem; if you already have a contract with one Network then you already have a cell phone number – and no matter how great the other Network offerings are there is no way you are giving that number up!

Since your cell phone number is just as unique to you as your ID number, then (if you are like most South Africans) your cell phone number is precious to you and you don’t want to give it up. Imagine having to change it, you will need to update all your contact details, your friends won’t be able to get in touch with you and you will have to learn another ten digit number off by heart! 

That is why Mobile Number Portability was introduced in South Africa in 2006.

Mobile Number Portability, simply put, allows you to move Networks and keep your cell phone number in the divorce (so to speak). It is a great way of chasing deals and ensuring that you don’t lose your precious cell phone number.

How Much Does Mobile Number Porting Cost?

Nothing. Mobile Number Porting is a free service.

An Interesting Fact About Mobile Number Porting.

When calling a friend do you ever hear three beeps before the ringing begins? Those beeps indicate that the cell phone number you are calling has been ported in the past.

Can a Port Be Refused?

Below are some general guidelines for when a number port can be refused. Let’s say that you are on "Network A”, your cell phone number is a "Network A number”, and you want to move to "Network B” with your existing cell phone number.

  1. If your number happens to already be used (or is planned to be used) for information or other such services by "Network B" then they can refuse the port
  2. If your number is not a valid number on "Network A"
  3. If you are a post-paid subscriber (on contract) on "Network A" and your number does not match up with your ID number
  4. If your account is suspended as a result of still owing "Network A" outstanding bills
  5. If your number has been ported in the last two months

In most instances anyone can port their cell phone number to a new Network with little no hassles.

What If My Current Contract Is Not Complete, Can I still Port?

Yes. However you may need to pay your existing contract off (in most cases just the device unless you owe other outstanding bills).

How Long Will It Take To Port My Number?

Usually the whole process takes 3 working days, however you will often be pleasantly surprised by a one day port.

Can I keep My Old Phone From My Previous Network?

Yes, of course you can. It's yours to keep and it will work perfectly fine on the new Network.

What Should I Do With My Old SIM Card?

Throw it away, or save it as a memento - either way you will not need it anymore. Your new Network will provide you with a new SIM card onto which your old cell phone number will be ported to.

Now That I Have Ported What Has Happened To All My Minutes, Data and SMSs?

Now that you have successfully switched your cell phone number to a new Network you have given up all benefits offered from your old Network. That includes any unused minutes, data or texts. However the reason you ported in the first place would have been to take advantage of new benefits on offer from a competing Network - so now you get to enjoy those new benefits with your existing cell phone number.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.