Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards (pictured) said: “Consumers deserve a quick and easy process for switching while retaining their number. These measures will promote competition in the UK mobile market and act directly in the consumers’ interest.
“Our new rules set tough but achievable deadlines to put new systems in place and I look to the industry to implement them effectively.”
An O2 spokeswoman said while the network supported the move to speed up the MNP process, it questioned the ease with which consumers would be able to contact a network and request their number to be ported under Ofcom’s proposals.
The spokeswoman said: “We are concerned about Ofcom’s proposal to make MNP a process led by the consumer, rather than the networks because it will lend itself to slamming and mis-selling.
“It is an issue Ofcom needs to consider when looking at reducing rising levels of mis-selling and slamming.”
Vodafone remains opposed to the implementation of such a short MNP process. It said there was potential to adversely affect a procedure that was already efficient and dismissed suggestions that it feared a shorter porting procedure would encourage customer churn.
Orange and 3 have both pledged their support for the initiative, and said they will co-operate with Ofcom to bring the changes in swiftly. 3 came under fire from O2 and Vodafone in June for being “shortsighted” in its support of the original two-hour porting scheme, due to come in by April 1, 2008.