Vodafone has decided to try and block Ofcom’s decision to speed up the porting process. Is its challenge justified?
Vodafone is clearly concerned about losing the window of opportunity that the current seven day system allows; there aren’t enough customers to go around, and they want to hang on to them by any means possible. Faster porting will undoubtedly open more churn. That’s good news if you are looking to acquire customers, bad news if you’re in the business of retaining customers.
As well as claiming that the combined cost to the networks will be in the region of £100m – not the £12m Ofcom has suggested – Vodafone says that two day porting will increase slamming.
Being moved to another network without consenting to it is still a real issue for customers - despite the code on mis-selling signed by the networks last summer, and let’s not forget, it makes the industry look like a bunch of crooks.
But is it a valid reason to block speeding up the porting process? Surely it just highlights another area of the industry that needs cleaning up, and the need for greater safeguards to stop the dubious ‘marketing’ companies involved.
Independent dealers moan about networks upgrading customers a few months before their contracts end and before they can get to them - quicker porting times should help them churn customers by making porting seem less laborious to customers.
With the least customers 3 has the most to gain from quicker porting, and that’s why it will be the most ardent supporter of Ofcom when the case hits the Competition Appeals Tribunal in early March.
So far, only Orange has decided to side with Vodafone. T-Mobile and O2 no doubt share their concerns, but why get their hands dirty when Vodafone can fight the battle for them?
Of course there is a simple way for Vodafone to stop its customers defecting: come up with some deals that make customers think twice before switching network.