Ofcom aims to reform porting in 2015/16 annual plan

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Regulator prioritises interests of consumers and SMEs while budge falls 3.4% for financial year

Ofcom has peldged to make switching provider easier for consumers of fixed and mobile services by implementing a “gaining provider led” porting process later this year.

Setting out its annual plan for 2015/16, the UK regulator highlighted mobile number porting (MNP) as one the key issues in promoting effective competition in the market.

Under the current provider-led MNP system, consumers wanting to switch networks must inform their network that they plan to leave, with the network then releasing their telephone to the new provider by way of a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC). The consumer then gives this code to their new provider, who will transfer the number.

The Ofcom Annual Plan statement said: “We will complete our implementation of simpler gaining provider led switching procedures for lines where both parties use BT or KCOM’s copper networks.

“We are keen to ensure that switching for mobile phone and for bundled services is as easy as possible for the consumer and we will come forward with proposals for reform, as needed, later in 2015.”

Ofcom also said it plans to introduce clearer pricing for numbers starting 08, 09 and 118, and make ‘080’ and ‘116’ calls free from mobiles.

It said demand for spectrum is increasing, and to meet this demand, it promised to award spectrum for mobile internet services in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands, with the 700 MHz and being made available for mobile broadband use in the future.

Despite these goals, the regulator will see its budget fall by 3.4 per cent to £114.3 million year on year.

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