Wireless Number Portability

What Does Wireless Number Portability Mean?

Wireless number portability (WNP) is a service that enables a consumer to switch between wireless service providers while keeping an existing number. It is used to allow users to maintain the same mobile or wireless number within a specific region, city or country, regardless of the service provider.


Wireless number portability is also called mobile number portability (MNP).

Techopedia Explains Wireless Number Portability

WNP is primarily provided by wireless mobile service providers to give their users flexibility in porting their mobile numbers. In GSM-based cellular networks, which use SIM cards, WNP works when the current mobile/cellular/wireless service provider gives a user a porting authorization code (PAC). The PAC and the unique SIM card serial number are used by the new wireless service provider to track and provide wireless service on the same SIM card with the existing number.

Some service providers might also require electronic serial numbers (ESN) and mobile equipment identifiers (MEI). In most cases, the user/subscriber can also keep an existing wireless number and the mobile network code when subscribing with the new provider.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…