11/27/2008 11:50:00 AM
3 lobbies MP over faster porting times
A spate of political lobbying by mobile operators is being cranked up as the row over faster porting times has moved into the political arena.
John Robertson, MP for Glasgow north-west, has raised an Early Day Motion and is seeking signatures from fellow ministers in order to force the matter to be raised by business secretary Peter Mandelson in the House of Commons.
Robertson had been contacted by 3, which is also looking to secure more political support for its two-hour porting times campaign.
The motion argues there is a threat to consumer choice as customers are not able to quickly change networks
while retaining an existing mobile number.
3’s rival networks are also understood to be stating their case to politicians regarding opposition to two-hour porting.
Robertson said: ‘We were contacted by 3 about mobile number portability. As a mobile user myself, as are many of my constituents, we’re aware of how long porting takes. With it taking a long time to switch, I felt it just wasn’t acceptable, especially compared with other countries.’
Sources claimed that a list of 100 signatures would be enough to raise the matter in parliament, with the hope that it would put pressure on operators to act.
If 3’s campaigning fails to force the networks to act voluntarily, it will be left to Ofcom to produce a water-tight case and processes in front of a competitions tribunal that will demand faster times to be brought in.
Vodafone has previously said there is insufficient information on whether consumers want two-hour porting, and what it would involve to implement.
What has happened so far
Alongside the industry regulator, Ofcom, 3 lost a court battle in September on the number porting issue and rival networks consequently suspended all work on speeding up times last month, effectively closing the UK Porting body that had been set up to develop faster porting times.
Ofcom was criticised for presenting its proposals poorly in the face of what is believed to be Vodafone’s powerful
Robertson said: ‘The dismissal was about the calculations and methods used by Ofcom rather than the principle of it.’