What Is a Firm Order Commitment (FOC) In Telecom?

P3 Cost Analysts / Telecom / March 22, 2022

There are so many moving parts when you’re running a business that it’s easy to be overspending and not even realize it. One place that many companies are constantly being overcharged is with their telecom services. Business telecommunication providers have made comparing prices complex and billing statements so convoluted that it’s nearly impossible to see the unnecessary charges and fees.

Once you take a closer look at your current carrier and the hidden costs they’re sneaking by each pay period, there’s a good chance you’ll be ready to switch carriers. If that’s the case, you’ll likely receive a FOC or Firm Order Commitment. If you’re wondering what does FOC mean in telecom, keep reading to get a better understanding.

What Is FOC?

FOC stands for Firm Order Commitment — a confirmation provided by your current carrier that they will port a telephone number (or numbers) to another service provider’s network on a specific date. The FOC should include the number to be ported and the date the number will be released.

The FOC is a response to the Service Order that your new telecommunications provider should make. The winning carrier will send details of the phone number and desired porting date to the losing carrier. If your previous provider is able to comply with the request, they will issue the FOC to confirm the transfer of the phone number.

Overview of Telecom Terminology

There are a few terms used in the telecom industry that may be confusing. By learning this terminology, you’ll have a better understanding of the process of switching carriers:

  • Losing Carrier: The telecommunications provider you are leaving is considered the losing carrier. They are losing your business and porting your number to the winning carrier.
  • Winning Carrier: Your new telecom provider is considered the winning carrier. They will initiate the porting process after you supply them with your phone number and other required information.
  • Port: When a number is ported, it is permanently transferred to a different provider.
  • Service Order: The service order is issued by the winning carrier and delivered to the losing carrier. It requests that a telephone number be ported on a specific date.
  • Local Exchange Carrier (LEC): LEC refers to the company that provides telecom services in a specific local area. They are required by law to allow number portability and provide technical help when necessary.

Why Is FOC Important?

The Federal Communications Commission requires that telecom providers allow number portability assuming that you’re still located within the same geographical area. This is especially important for businesses as your customers and clients are used to dialing a specific number, and your number is generally listed on all your advertisements.

Not only does this allow companies to keep their original phone numbers to prevent disturbances in their business, but it also prevents service providers from holding phone numbers hostage. This allows both businesses and people to freely switch service providers as they see fit.

When Do I Need a FOC Order/Date?

You will need a FOC anytime you want to port your phone number from your current supplier to your new one. The timing will be affected by whether you’re transferring to a wireline, IP, or wireless line. If you’re only porting one line, the FCC requires that process can be done in one business day. When switching from a wireline to a wireless service, it may take a few days.

It’s important not to cancel your existing carrier until you have your new one set up. The winning carrier will start the porting process by issuing a Service Order.

Common Reasons for Switching Carriers

Sometimes we get complacent or don’t realize that our current provider isn’t the best option. However, there are many reasons why switching carriers might be the best call for your company.

  • To save money: The main reason businesses decide to switch carriers is to save money. There are quite a few ways that carriers can overcharge their customers, like misapplication of tariffs, fees, surcharges, and taxes.
  • Customer service issues: When problems arise with your telecom bill, the company should do everything they can to make it right. Unfortunately, many vendors will try to get away with their mistakes. If your provider doesn’t own up to the breaches in the contract, you should consider working with a different company.
  • Switching to VoIP: With advancements in today’s technology, businesses are utilizing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) more and more for their telecom needs. Not only is VoIP more scalable and mobile, but it can save your business money as well.
  • Consolidating services: Another way to save money on telecom services is by combining all accounts to one invoice and vendor. By consolidating to one provider, you can simplify your accounting and save money and time.

How P3 Can Help You Save on Telecom

If you’re considering switching carriers to save your company some money with telecom services, now is the perfect time to let P3 Cost Analysts’ run a telecom expense audit on your current billing platforms. Our experts can help you get rid of unnecessary charges and fees and help you get refunds for billing errors that happened in the past.

We will help you make an informed decision about what’s best for your company — whether that’s cleaning up your current invoices or negotiating new contracts. As a result, our clients save an average of 15-30 percent on telecom overcharges. Who doesn’t want to save on local, long-distance, wireless, data, and internet?

FOC: Keep Your Number and Switch Your Provider

There are plenty of reasons you may consider switching your telecommunications vendor, whether that’s to save money, get better customer care, switch to VoIP, or consolidate invoicing. Business owners stressed about losing their number can rest easy knowing that the FCC requires an easy transfer between telecom providers.

Once you decide to switch phone carriers, the winning carrier will send a Service Order to the losing carrier, who will then offer a FOC. This confirms that your number will be ported on the specified date.

If you need help deciphering whether you’ll save more money by switching carriers or cracking down on your current one, contact us today so we can help you save as much money as possible.

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