How Long Does Mobile Number Portability Take and How Does It Work? (2023)

Mobile number portability allows users to switch from one mobile operator to another while keeping the same phone number. If you're wondering how long the porting process takes and how it works, we'll provide answers to these questions and more. In this article, we'll explain the portability process, the time it takes to complete, how to initiate it, whether it can be canceled, and how it can be used to improve your current tariff.

What is Mobile Number Portability?

Mobile number portability is the process of changing your mobile operator while retaining your existing phone number. It involves switching from one operator's tariff to another operator's tariff. It's important to note that this process applies only to different companies and not different tariffs within the same company. If you want to use the same mobile number on two different phones, you'll need a MultiSIM, not a portability.

How Long Does Mobile Number Portability Take?

In general, the portability process should be completed within one full working day from the time of the request. For example, if you request a portability from Movistar to Vodafone on a Wednesday, you should be able to use Vodafone's services in the early hours of Friday. However, if you request the portability on a Friday, you won't be able to use Vodafone's services until Tuesday, as weekends are not counted as working days and Monday needs to pass.

Portability is typically carried out during the early hours of the morning, known as the "portability window." This window usually spans from 2 AM to 6 AM, during which the least amount of customer communication occurs. It's important to note that the process doesn't take the full four hours of the window; rather, the change is made at some point within this timeframe.

During the portability process, your data is transferred from your old operator to the new one. Your old operator may contact you up to five times within the designated timeframe (from 9 AM to 9 PM) to make a counteroffer. However, it's not necessary to confirm the portability with your old operator or answer their calls.

Can Mobile Number Portability be Canceled?

Yes, it is possible to cancel a portability without any cost. However, there are specific timeframes within which you can cancel. Generally, you can cancel the portability from the moment you request it until the portability window begins or until your SIM card is dispatched. It's important to check with the operator you intended to switch to for their specific cancellation policy.

To cancel a portability, you need to contact the receiving operator (the one you intended to switch to) and provide them with proof of cancellation, such as a signed document, an electronic signature, or a recorded verbal agreement verified by a third party.

How to Initiate Mobile Number Portability?

As a customer, you don't need to worry about the portability process itself. The process is straightforward:

  1. Contact the new operator (the one you want to switch to) and choose one of their tariffs.
  2. Provide the necessary personal and banking information to the new operator.
  3. The new operator will then contact your old operator and handle the entire process on your behalf.

You must be the account holder or use the account holder's credentials to initiate the portability. Additionally, you'll receive a new SIM card from the new operator, which can be delivered to your home or provided to you immediately if you request the portability at their physical location.

Using Mobile Number Portability to Improve Your Tariff

Many users leverage the portability process to negotiate better conditions with their current operator. When your old operator contacts you, usually via phone call, they may make a counteroffer. If the offer interests you, you can accept it. The conversation will be recorded, and your old operator can contact the new operator to stop the portability and provide them with the recording or document confirming the cancellation.

By using the portability process strategically, you can potentially improve your current tariff and enjoy better benefits from your operator.


In this article, we've explained the process of mobile number portability, how long it typically takes, how to initiate it, whether it can be canceled, and how it can be used to improve your current tariff. Mobile number portability allows users to switch operators while keeping their phone number, providing flexibility and the opportunity to find better deals and services.

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