Ofcom to rule on number porting


Ofcom will rule on mobile number porting tomorrow (March 31) in a move expected to save customers up to £1.5bn per year.

Regulator Ofcom will meet on Wednesday (March 31) to decide  mobile number porting (MNP) must be completed within one day, instead of two, Mobile News understands. Operators are expected to have until mid-2011 to implement the changes.

The move is designed to make it quicker for customers to switch networks in search of a better deal. Comparisson site uSwitch claims 11 million mobile users in the UK have switched operators in the past 12 months, with combined savings of more than £895 million or £81 each per year from new providers.

Around 18 million mobile users in the UK have never switched operators, which uSwitch claims could cost them £1.5 billion a year in total.

The changes are not expected to include ‘recipient led’ porting, meaning the operator will continue to control the process of releasing the number.

Network operator 3 has campaigned for the MNP process to be made shorter, and for it to be ‘recipient led’ and not ‘donor led’ control as it stands, which buys the operator time to contact the customer to attempt to retain them. 

The UK is currently the only country where number porting is ‘donor led’.

3 has also called for Ofcom to follow countries such as Ireland, Malta and the US where MNP times are typically less than two two hours. It wants an end to “long delays” for a customer to get their PAC code.

3 last week sent out 30 rubber ducks to Ofcom requesting they “do not duck the issue”.

Vodafone challenged Ofcom’s two hour proposal in 2008 claiming it would cost each operator around £37 million in revenues. O2, Orange and T-Mobile backed its view.