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Copyboss
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Message 1 of 9

Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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Hi, 

Hope you can help.

This is the situation. 

We live in a house that had two separate land line numbers. One was a SKY number allocated as part of their broadband package. The other was a BT number allocated as part of their broadband package.

Recently, we decided to cancel the SKY package and use the BT broadband for the whole house. However, we wanted to keep the SKY number - just the number - as it was used much more. We asked if we could swap it over to the existing BT landline. 

We have been told various things by various reps from both Sky and BT that have led us to believe that this is possible. 

Our old SKY landline number became unavailable as of 12th November 2020. Originally, we were told to wait 24 hrs and then contact BT to have the number reallocated. We did that and then were told that it could take up to 14 days for the number to revert back "to the pool" for it to be available for reallocation. We did that and now have been told that the number is not available for reallocation as the line/number is not live. Now we've been told to contact SKY again to get them to make the line/number live so it can be ported in.

Needless to say, I don't want to waste any more time on this. Heaven knows what SKY will now say or charge us for something that might not be possible anyway.

Can anybody give me a definitive answer on whether it is at all possible to transfer a SKY owned telephone number (on the OFCOM database) to an existing BT landline? And, if it is possible, what is the quickest way to get it done.

Thanks in advance!

 

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Keith_Beddoe
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Message 2 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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@Copyboss 

Welcome to this user forum.

If the number belongs to Sky, it will revert to them when you move your service to BT. BT will give you a different number from within the range of numbers allocated to that exchange building.

BT exchanges have their own unique number ranges, which are different to Sky, who have their own equipment in the exchange. It did not used to be possible to import number from another range, but that may have changed. The restriction is causes by the legacy phone equipment installed in the BT exchanges.

By all means try, but I have not seen anyone who has posted a similar question on this forum, having a successful result. It depend on how much time you want to spend on it.

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Copyboss
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Message 3 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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Hi Keith,

thanks for the speedy response. Much appreciated.

However, I'm not sure that "unmuddys" the waters any. We didn't move our service to BT, we already had broadband and a landline phone no with them. The BT number was barely used. Whereas the SKY number was. 

I saw from some of the other posts on this topic that the SKY and BT number ranges were separate BUT that they were, in our case, likely to be housed in the same local exchange as both lines are in the same house.

So you're now saying that the legacy phone equipment in the local exchange may have advanced to the point where it is possible to transfer the number from one provider owned range to another? And that it might just be a matter of sticking with our attempts to get it done?

If so, we'll keep on. If the chances are very slim to zero then...

 

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Keith_Beddoe
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Message 4 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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@Copyboss 

The old BT exchange equipment was installed in the 1970-1980s, well before any other providers were in existence.

Numbers are hardware mapped to remote concentrators in each exchange, as that is the way numbers were allocated in the past, right back to the days of Strowger mechanical exchanges.

When Sky, and other LLU (Local Line Unbundling) providers came along, they paid for space in the BT exchange buildings, so they could install their own equipment to provide phone and broadband services, using their own number ranges, which are geographically the same, but totally different numbers. They also had the advantage that they could normally port other numbers in, as their system was software based.

Some providers just provide broadband, and still use BT to provide the phone number.

As you have an existing BT phone line and broadband, you could request a renumber to another BT number, but I cannot see it being possible to renumber to a number that does not belong to BT, ie Sky.

Copyboss
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Message 5 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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Hi Keith.

I guessed that might be the answer. 

So SKY or any other provider can port in BT numbers and use and release them back to BT no matter how old the number is? But if the telephone number has recently (2013) been created for and is owned by SKY or another provider, according to Ofcom number list, then BT can't do the same? 

Seems a bit odd!

Is it a lack of investment in local exchange infrastructure/software porting technology by BT? 

Or maybe it's the fact that mobile nos have taken over and make the whole "portability" thing far simpler? Why invest when landlines are for businesses or digital dinosaurs like me?

Either way it's irritatingly ironic that, when we moved to the house we're in now, we could have (but were told we weren't able to) ported our old number with us. It was a BT number too, according to my new friend the Ofcom number range list.

Instead, we were issued with a new SKY owned tel number. If we'd have questioned it more at the time and retained our old BT number, this whole debacle would have been a much simpler issue to deal with.

I'd just like to know why, if all it takes is to look at an Ofcom number range spreadsheet to give a definitive yes or no, nobody then or now seems to have a clue? 

Anyway, if you're of the opinion and from your experience it can't be done, I'll go with that.

If nothing else, you've saved me from a tiresome call with another potentially uninformed, misguided member of a support desk. I'm getting tired and dizzy from going round in circles with this.

Thanks!

 

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Keith_Beddoe
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Message 6 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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You cannot move BT issued numbers from one physical exchange building to another, as they would be on different remote concentrators, which may explain your earlier issue when you moved house.

I have been retired from BT in 2009, having worked nearly 42 years, so I have seen just about all of the exchange equipment types starting from Strowger (very noisy and dirty!).

Unless BT have found a way to overcome the incoming number porting, perhaps with some form of network translation within the signalling path, then I cannot see how it could be done.  Incoming calls are easy, its the outgoing bit that would be awkward.

Anyway, the BT Exchanges are supposed to be closing in 2025 (That is a BT estimation, so I would not rely on it too much). Once that happens, and phone traffic is carried over VOIP, then everything will be in software, and I suspect there will be an Ofcom shakeup of number allocations, so true portability should be possible, as in mobile networks.

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Copyboss
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Message 7 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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Wouldn't you be informed if they had updated their exchanges to make it possible? You being a BT community guru and all? I know this is a community forum, but some other posts led me to believe some of the moderators were current BT engineers. They would intervene if any information given on this forum was out of date, surely?

Am not saying I don't trust the advice you're giving, I just want final absolute closure on this issue. I have a doubting disease and a need for certainty at the moment. Partly due to the pandemic, but mostly due to the fact the missus will kill me if I get it wrong.

And Keith! 42 years service. 11 years retired. Haven't you had enough of idiots like me asking questions they're unsure of or unwilling to accept anybody's answer for? 

I appreciate your commitment. I hope BT do too.

Cheers!

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Keith_Beddoe
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Message 8 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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No, once you retire from BT, the only update you might get, would be the same as anyone else. In fact, this forum is a good place to start. There are quite a few retired and current BT people here, and a few from Openreach. If anyone knows anything more about the technical aspects of number imports, then perhaps they would post here.

The moderators are the only official BT people on this forum, and anything new, normally gets posted here. Lookout for posts by @SeanD , the community manager.

As for the old exchanges, they were still hanging on, with less people left now to maintain them. Luckily there is much less demand for fixed line phone connections, so faulty bits can be "retired" as long as there are spares, as most are probably beyond economic repair. 

I am always happy to answer questions, as long as they are via this forum and not by private messaging, as that is by invitation only, otherwise they get ignored.

So much basic background knowledge gets lost, as people leave the business, so I try to help where possible. There is however a lot of new stuff which I have never worked on, so its best left to those in the know.

Copyboss
Beginner
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Message 9 of 9

Re: Porting a Landline Number from SKY to BT

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Keith.

I know what you mean by "So much basic background knowledge gets lost as people leave the business".

Relentless change has turned many previously strong and vital entities into ghosts of themselves. Wisdom, knowledge, experience have all been diluted and thinned out to the point where you never feel you can trust the answer you're given, the answer you're giving, the question you're asking or the question you've answered. 

It's moving forward but, sometimes, I'm not convinced it's progress.  Particularly when it comes to customer service. 

"Those in the know".  As you said, it's them we all need to get hold of.  And yet that department never seems to be one of the available numbered options when you ring for help. Maybe there's a secret number to reach them on? 

For those in the know, dial 150.

Well, not this time. I'm just a passing visitor to these forums, I came here looking for an answer and almost got one. A proper one.

If my choice is between an answer confidently and clearly explained to me by somebody "recently in the know" or a costly game of number port ping-pong with a rotating roster of "I'm not really sure"s , I choose the former.

I'm going to mark this question off as resolved. If I can work out how. Might have to raise another ticket!

Anyway, your non-working time and your help is greatly appreciated.

Peace and long life, Keith.  

Take care.

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