Can I keep my phone number if I move house?

A row of houses

I’m moving house and my landline provider said I can’t keep my current phone number. I am fuming. I’ve moved before and been able to take my phone number with me. Is there any way at all I can keep it?

Ian R, via email

Usually when you move house, yes - it's totally possible to keep your old phone number. But not always.

With most providers, you can take your phone number to your new home as long as you're moving within the same telephone exchange area.

For instance, if you're moving from a neighbourhood with an 0121 phone number to another one with an 0121 number, there's a good chance you can continue using your old one.

However, you won't be able to take your old number with you if…

  • Your provider is Sky - Sky isn't able to transfer numbers like this
  • You're moving somewhere with a different area code - e.g. if you're moving from an 0121 area to an 01902 area
  • You're moving a bit too far away from your old place
  • Something else iffy is going on with the phone lines or equipment in your area that makes it too difficult
    Your provider will be able to tell you for sure whether you can shift it across or not.

How to keep your phone number when you move house

You can get your number transferred when you arrange a home move from your broadband or phone provider. Here's how to do that:

Just make sure you say that you want to take your number with you, and if it's possible, your provider will do what they can to arrange it.

Grey landline phone

If you're taking the opportunity to switch providers, however… things get a little more complicated. Your previous provider will need to allow your number to be transferable - make sure you ask about this when you cancel your service. It's possible to move your old number across to your new home, but your chances are a bit lower.

What if I can't keep my number?

You can set up Caller Redirect, which you can add onto your phone package when you move. This is a service that plays a voicemail message to anyone calling your old number, letting them know what your new one is.

BT charges £20.50 for one month of Caller Redirect, or £30.60 for three months - though other providers' charges may vary.

Another thing you can do is set up a VoIP (voice over IP) service - a kind of telephone service that uses broadband rather than traditional phone lines. Transfer your number to the VoIP service, then set it up again in your new home.

Sorry you can't keep your number, Ian - but at least you have a couple of options. Here are some other questions we've answered that may be useful:

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