8/3/2009 11:22:00 AM
Ofcom seeks to push porting times down to two hours
Ofcom is pushing to reduce the time it takes to switch networks after claiming victory in reducing the time from five days to two days last year.
The regulator now wants the process of porting from one network to another, to be between two hours and one working day.
Ofcom said it would start a consultation to decide whether to give the recipient network (the one the customer is joining) the power to port numbers instead of the current system, which involves the consumer’s existing network sanctioning the PAC code.
3 has lobbied alongside Ofcom for shorter porting times – the pair battled the other operators in court last year.
In September 2008, Vodafone, with the support of T-Mobile, Orange, O2 and BT, won a court case against 3 and Ofcom which stopped porting times to being reduced to 24 hours.
A 3 spokeswoman said: ‘Reform is long overdue so we welcome Ofcom’s return to this issue. Ofcom recognised the failings of the current regime in 2007 and if other UK operators had not derailed the process on a technicality, consumers would have had fast, easy switching this month.’
Ofcom's, chief executive, Ed Richards said: ‘Ofcom would like to see easier, faster and more convenient processes to enable consumers to keep their number when they switch mobile provider. Our proposals take a fresh look at this issue to ensure that consumers are getting the most from their mobile service.’
Meanwhile, Vodafone said that Ofcom’s own research had also shown that ‘the majority of consumers are satisfied with the current process’.
A Vodafone spokeswoman said: ‘Our goal is a system that's convenient, works reliably and lets customers make informed decisions without compromising vital consumer safeguards against slamming, mis-selling and fraud. We are always open to ideas for genuine improvements, but they must give real customer benefits at a proportionate cost.’