Moving house can raise a lot of questions, particularly when it comes to technology and communications. From Sky TV to Internet access, the technology that we use on a daily basis is often one of the biggest concerns people have when moving house.
Can you keep your old number? If so, how long will it take for your phone service to get installed and activated? Read on to learn what you need to know about moving house and your phone number.
Before you move house
If you’d like to get phone service (and often broadband Internet, as well) set up as soon as you move into your new address, you’ll need to notify your phone provider ahead of time.
BT has an online form for customers about to move house. If you enter your phone number and provide your new postcode, it will tell you if you’ll be able to keep your current phone number at your new address.
If you use a different company for broadband Internet, you’ll need to contact them before you move to alert them to your new address. It’s best to notify your phone, Internet and other service provider all at once to keep things nice and simple.
Can you keep your phone number?
Simply put, it depends. Phone numbers are issued based on the telephone exchange area that your home is located in. For example, Lincoln 01522 is available for homes and businesses in Lincoln, not those located elsewhere in the country.
Mum is moving house and obsessing about her new phone number so she can send out 'notice cards'. It's like something from Victorian times.
— Lois McEwan (@LoisMcEwan) December 19, 2011
If you’re moving within your current telephone exchange, you might be able to keep your existing phone number. Unfortunately, numbers can’t be moved outside a local exchange, making it impossible to retain your number if you’re moving far away.
What if you’re moving locally?
If you’re just moving down the street, it’s theoretically possible that you could keep your existing phone number. Your new address would need to be located within the same exchange area as your old address in order to make the number viable.
Telephone exchange areas aren’t always logical, and an address that’s just down the street from you could be in a different exchange. Even within the same exchange, it’s not always possible to move your number to a new address.
When phone numbers are no longer used, they go into a number pool that all phone service providers have access to. Because of this, companies like BT can’t make any guarantees about your number, even if your new home is located nearby.
Your phone provider will let you know if keeping your existing number is possible when you alert them to your new address. If you’re moving nearby and there aren’t any exchange-related issues, you might be able to keep your phone number!
What if you change providers?
Moving house can be a great opportunity to change phone and Internet providers. If you decide to change providers after moving, your existing phone provider needs to allow your phone number to be transferable to the new phone company.
There are some exceptions to this. If your number isn’t available at your new home due to an exchange issue, your number can’t be transferred. Your new provider also doesn’t need to accept the new number; if they want to, they can issue a new one.
If you’re considering changing providers when you move and want to retain your current phone number, it’s important to check if this is possible ahead of time. In most cases, you’ll probably have to make do with a different phone number.
When should you let your phone provider know?
Moving house can be a stressful process, and letting your phone provider know at the last minute can lead to additional delays that make it even more stressful. The best course of action is to let your provider know as soon as you have a moving date.
Arranging for your phone service to be transferred usually takes two weeks or less, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re moving long distance or the phone company is particularly busy, you might need to provide slightly more notice.
Play it safe and let your phone provider know that you’re moving as soon as your moving date is ready. This way, you’ll never need to deal with installation delays once you’ve unpacked and settled into your new home.
Does an engineer need to visit your new home?
If your home isn’t yet connected to the phone network, an engineer will need to visit and install a new line on your property. You can book this online using your service provider’s website; you will need to be at home when the engineer visits.
Once your new home is connected, you will normally be able to use the phone right away. Make sure you’ve provided enough notice for your phone provider to switch your account information to your new address as soon as you’ve moved in.
If your new home already has a direct line connection, you might be able to use the phone as soon as you move in. Your phone service provider will be able to provide more information on installation and activation time when you notify them.
What happens to your old number?
If you can’t keep your old number, you can install a feature called Caller Redirect to notify callers of your new phone number. Caller Redirect provides a short message to people that call your old address and alerts them to your new phone number.
Calls to your old home are free of charge, making it easy for you to notify friends and family to your new number. You’ll need to arrange Caller Redirect before you move to avoid having your old number go into the number pool or be reissued.
Are you ready to move house?
Moving house can be incredibly stressful, especially if you’re not prepared for life at your new address ahead of time. Organising your phone and Internet service ahead of time makes moving day – and the days that follow it – a lot more manageable.
If you’re moving house in the next month, make sure you’ve alerted your phone and Internet service provider. The more warning they have, the smoother the transition of your phone and Internet service to your new address will be.