Industry regulator Ofcom yesterday said that two-hour transfers for mobile numbers must be in place by September 1, 2009.
The move follows Ofcom’s decision earlier this year to reduce mobile number porting times from five days to two days by April 1, 2008. Ofcom said the move would strengthen competition and consumer convenience.
The industry will also be required to collaborate to create a common database to handle calls and allow for more efficient call routing while the number is being ported from one network to another.
The new database will make it possible to route calls to ported numbers directly to the new provider’s network without the call needing to travel over the customer’s old network.
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: “Consumers deserve a quick and easy process for switching networks, while retaining their number. These measures will promote competition in the UK mobile market.
“Our new rules set tough but achievable deadlines to put new systems in place and I look to the industry to implement them effectively.”