Ofcom needs to act quickly on number porting rules: Three

Three slams Ofcom’s decision not to include mobile numbers in a new proposal relating to provider switching saying regulator needs to address the issue “urgently”

Three has called on Ofcom to do more in easing up the process mobile customers have to go through when porting their numbers after the regulator announced it had opened a consultation relating to switching broadband and fixed line providers.

Ofcom announced its ‘Consumer Switching’ consultation today relating to proposals it has to change the process for switching fixed voice and broadband providers on the Openreach copper network.

It says the process will ensure the switching process is “easy and hassle free” while also opening up competition in the market place.

Ofcom claims one in five consumers switching their broadband lost their service for nearly a week while 130,000 households had the wrong telephone line taken over during the switching process or when moving house.

It also said 520,000 households had their landline or broadband services switched without their consent.

Speaking about the consultation, Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: “Smooth switching processes are essential to ensure that consumers can change providers with confidence.

“Many people think that the current systems are too difficult and unreliable which is why we have made it one of our priorities to tackle this problem.”

“Today’s proposals are designed to make the process easier, more reliable and safe from slamming. We believe that the proposals would improve consumers’ experience of switching and ensure that they continue to benefit from competition.”

Three, while applauding Ofcom’s stance on freeing up the transition process for broadband and fixed line services, said it was frustrating mobile phone porting had not been included in the proposal.

A Three spokesperson said: “Ofcom’s proposal for a simple ‘gaining-provider led’ porting system is good news for broadband customers,but it’s a very different story for mobile consumers.

“It’s five years since Ofcom first sought to introduce similar systems for mobile customers and yet the UK’s mobile consumers are still stuck having to ask permission from their current provider to keep their number when switching.

“We hope Ofcom will extend the rights it is proposing for broadband customers to mobile customers as a matter of urgency.”

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