Can I keep my mobile number ( port ) when I’m transferring between the Telcos

The most commonly asked question in telco: can I keep my mobile number?

Yes. The short answer is a healthy and trouble free yes. I know. It’s not usually this simple. These days people have far too many ‘information identities’ to manage.They have logins for this, passwords for that, fixed and mobile numbers to remember at home and work. It’s a real task to keep track of them all. That’s why, the most commonly asked pre-sales question when you’re taking out a contract with a telecommunications service provider ( phone company ) is ‘Can I keep my mobile number’ ? It is just such a pain to change it.

How does the telecommunications industry manage customer telephone number movements ?

Luckily, they realized this was something they needed to sort out a long time ago. Internally, , the process of moving the same telephone number for one individual from one company to another is known as porting. All the telcos have a single, shared database of all the telephone numbers which have been provided to them by the government. They actually have to pay the government to use them.

How does it work ?

When you decide to leave one telco and go to another, the telco you’re leaving notifies the database that the number is free to ‘port’ and the one you’ve moving to allocates it to their network. There’s a lot of technical gubbins that happens at the same time to associate the number to the SIM card you’ve been given.

How long will it take ?

The transfer process varies in duration, including whether you’re doing this over the weekend. It can take 24 – 48 hours to move across. In the meantime, you might not be able to make or receive calls on the phone number. The phone number has to go through a ‘no man’s land’ or ‘limbo’ state where it’s not actually allocated to a provider.

But then it pops out the other side and you’re still the same 10 digits you always were . It’s just that you’re getting your coverage and bill from another network provider.

Actually doing it on the telco websites

Keeping your phone number when moving to a postpaid / Prepaid SIM


Keeping your phone number and moving to a postpaid SIM :

All 3 of the major telcos will ask for notification of your preference about your phone number when you checkout on their site. You can choose a new one if you want ( we’ve had friends that wanted to hide so they took a new number and didn’t tell anyone else – honestly ! ) or you can choose to keep the one you have.

And, once your credit check has been passed – the process of ‘porting’ you will begin. Working with the telcos can be a nightmare. Everyone silently deflates when they know they’ve got to go through the checkout process.

Keeping your phone number and moving to a prepaid SIM :

With Lebara and other prepaid providers, you order your SIM first. Then, once you received your SIM, you will need to activate it. This can be done through the phone company’s website or by calling their call centre.

As part of the activation process, you will be asked if you wish to port in ( transfer across to your new phone company ) your existing mobile number. If you  select YES, they will be asked for the mobile number and your date of birth. The port will then be processed as part of the activation.

Keeping your number is the least of your worries.

 Australia’s best Phone Plans:



Best plan on the Vodafone network at $30 + above ?

Lebara use the Vodafone’s 3G + 4G network

Winner :  Lebara $29.90 National Unlimited

If you’re after an unlimited plan with incredible included value or you make calls overseas, in our view, you need look no further than Lebara. Lebara use the much improved Vodafone 3G + 4G network which covers more than 96% of Australians. In recent ( mid 2016 ) tests, the Vodafone network matched Telstra’s for 4G coverage.

Lebara 'National Plan' Unlimited $29.90 ( with 5GB of data )

This is the lowest price on our site for a plan which has unlimited Australian voice calls and SMS, anywhere in Australia. It’ll give you :

  • Big Data on the Vodafone 3G + 4G network :
    5GB should be plenty for even the most ravenous data eaters. This data inclusion has just been increased and now represents the biggest data bundle you’ll find on a plan of this sort.
  • Unlimited voice calls to Australian numbers :
    Your plan has unlimited included calls to Australian mobile and landline phone numbers on the Vodafone 4G network plus up to 150 international minutes included.
  • Unlimited SMS :
    Unlimited National texts. Nice and simple. You can send as many text messages each month to as many Australian phone numbers as you’d like to with no additional charge.
  • Lebara use the Vodafone 3G + 4G network :
    Remember, Lebara use the Vodafone 4G network. Vodafone’s network has improved dramatically since it’s lows of 2010. In major Australian cities, Vodafone’s network is as strong as Telstra’s or Optus’.
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10c/ min for national calls and 10c/ SMS for national/international SMS


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Winner : Lebara 'Unlimited National and International Calls' $49.90 ( with 10GB of data )

Lebara’s cheaper international call rates cover all the major destinations including : UK, USA, Greece, China, Canada, Germany, Denmark, France, South Korea and Switzerland.

  • Best value for overseas calls :
    If you need to make calls overseas, Money Magazine awarded this plan the best value plan for that in Australia.
  • 60 international call destinations :
    Unlimited voice and SMS to 60 destinations including India, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Bangladesh, UK, France, Greece, Italy, Germany. See the full list.
  • Unlimited National Voice and SMS :
    Call who you like when you like and you can text them too. All day every day. These are genuinely unlimited allowances for calls and SMS to other Australian numbers from your mobile.
  • Huge 4G Data :
    10 GB of 4G data (5GB + 5GB bonus ends 30/04/17) on the Vodafone network. on Again, you can add more mid month if you need to.

Or you can read our full Lebara Review.

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Best value plan on the Optus 4G network at $25

We recommend : Bendigo SIM Only plans

Best value plan on the Optus 4G network at $30

We recommend Bendigo 4G Lite plan for only $29.95 per month. Bendigo give you Unlimited of voice call and 2GB data allowance.

  • Unlimited SMS :
    All three Bendigo mobile plans available online contain unlimited SMS.
  • Postpaid– Month to month agreement
    Bendigo mobile plans offer total flexibility. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll automatically be charged each month. And, if you find a better deal elsewhere, you can take advantage of it almost straight away. Just finish the month you’re in with Bendigo.
  • Bendigo use the Optus 4G network


Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.