General FAQs

What is the NPAC?

The Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) supports the implementation of Local Number Portability and is the system used to facilitate number porting in the United States. Comprised of seven regional systems across the U.S., the NPAC manages the number portability processes of all telecom Service Providers in the United States, including wireline, wireless, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

What is LNP?

LNP stands for Local Number Portability. You may also hear it referred to as number portability or number porting. Mobile number portability (MNP) or wireless number portability (WNP) refer to a type of LNP related to wireless or mobile numbers.

LNP was created as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to give consumers the choice and convenience of keeping their wireline or wireless telephone number when switching from one service provider to another. Prior to LNP, consumers were required to get a new telephone number every time they switched service providers. Note that for wireline numbers, there are some geographical limitations to the consumer’s ability to port their number. For more technical information regarding how LNP works, click here.

What is the regulatory background of LNP?

In 1995 and 1996, several states began the process of selecting the architecture to be used for LNP in their respective states.  After considerable discussion and deliberation, AT&T/Lucent Technologies' Location Routing Number (LRN) architecture was selected. The LRN method became the industry standard and later was adopted by the FCC in 1997. 

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 provided a pro-competitive, de-regulated national policy framework designed to open local telecommunications markets to competition.

The FCC issued its First Report and Order (adopted June 27, 1996) in Docket 95-116 providing the regulatory framework for LNP. Other LNP-related FCC Orders and Code of Federal Regulations are posted on the NPIF - Number Portability Industry Forum (NPIF) WG website.

What is a LRN?

LRN stands for Location Routing Number, a unique 10-digit telephone number assigned to each switch to support call routing. The LRN serves as the network address and includes the area code (NPA) and central office code (NXX) for a telephone number. The assignment of a LRN to telephone numbers allows for LNP.

While NPAC User Data is restricted to authorized NPAC users only, the NPA-NXX associated with an LRN is available to non-NPAC users. For a list of companies that will supply this information to non-NPAC users, click here.

What is a SPID?

A SPID (service provider ID) is a unique four-character alphanumeric value that is assigned by the LNPA to an NPAC User. The SPID is a key data element for most NPAC related activities, including porting, to identify the NPAC User. Each NPAC User may have one or more SPIDs. For Service Providers, their OCN is usually used as their NPAC SPID. The SPID for other NPAC Users, known as Providers of Telecommunications Related Services, is determined by the LNPA. Service Providers may also request SPIDs to represent other entities, such as resellers or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. Those entities are referred to as “alternative SPID” or alt SPID for porting purposes.

What is the North American Portability Management (NAPM) LLC?

The NAPM LLC was formed to manage the contracts for the Local Number Portability administrator(s) following the orders and directions from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

What is the Local Number Portability Administrator (LNPA) and what are its responsibilities?

iconectiv is the LNPA for the United States. As the LNPA, iconectiv manages seven regional databases that make up the U.S. NPAC, which:

  • Facilitates the porting of telephone numbers
  • Distributes ported number information to service providers for their network administration 
  • Facilitates mass changes, such as location routing number (LRN) transfers.
Who can receive NPAC data and what can it be used for?

Service Providers and Providers of Telecom-Related Services (PTRS) can use NPAC data for call rating, routing and billing. The types of portability supported include:

  • Service Provider Portability - enables users to change providers and retain their telephone number
  • Location (Geographic) Portability - depending on the geographic location and type of line, this allows users to change from one geographic area to another while retaining their telephone number.

Certain NPAC data elements are available to specific, qualified companies that rely on quick and accurate access to this data. Services that require a separate  registration and signed agreement, include:

  • PortData Comply - available to businesses that must comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the data can be used exclusively for verifying if a telephone number has been ported between wireless and wireline, which is one of the essential elements needed for TCPA compliance.
  • PortData Source - available to Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies via the online, the data is used exclusively for verifying the porting history, service provider ownership and service provider contact information for a specific telephone number
  • PortData Validate - available to businesses that use telephone numbers as part of their fraud mitigation and risk assessment service, the data can be used exclusively for verifying the porting history and service provider ownership for a specific telephone number.

Even if you are already registered as a PTRS user, you must register separately for each service depending upon your Permitted Use.

What regions does the U.S. NPAC serve?

The NPAC serves seven regions in the United States.