8/10/2009 10:34:00 AM
Operators bemoan two hour porting times
Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 have slammed an Ofcom report calling for the reduction of porting times to two hours, saying that money could be better spent elsewhere.
Ofcom released a report last week proposing to further reduce porting times to two hours. The regulator has also launched a consultation on changing the current system where the customer must request a Pac code from their old network before porting their number to the new network.
Ofcom said in the original report that changing the routing system would result in a £26 million saving for the industry.
However, Operators argued that lessening the porting times to two hours and changing the routing process could require significant investment, as it will require a fully automated service.
Operators moved to a two-day porting process last year, but they will now be required to reduce porting times to 24 hours under pending EU legislation.
Vodafone and T-Mobile stressed that porting times less than 24 hours could compromise consumer safeguards against slamming, mis-selling and fraud.
Only 3 has supported a change in system, adding: ‘Reform is long overdue.’
Vodafone said: ‘The majority of customers are satisfied with the current process.’ T-Mobile added: ‘This is a four-month consultation and we have yet to decide which options we prefer with regards a new porting regime and proposals for direct routing.’
It is thought that some operators may not be keen on a ‘recipient-led’ model, which would transfer the responsibility of moving the customer’s number to the new network, as it would give less control over retention than the current ‘donor-led’ model.
An Ofcom spokesperson said: ‘As part of our consultation on mobile number porting, Ofcom has included a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the impact of any changes to the current arrangements as well as detailed consumer research. We look forward to hearing from all stakeholders throughout the consultation process and will carefully consider all views before making a decision.’
O2 said: ‘As a leading operator, we stand to gain from anything that improves the porting experience for customers. However, we need to be sure that the investment is best spent in this area and not on something that customers might value more.’
Vodafone said: ‘We are studying Ofcom's new proposals with interest, but note Ofcom's own research shows that the majority of consumers are satisfied with the current process. 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.’
T-Mobile said: ‘We moved to the two-day process about a year ago and all operators will be obliged to adopt 24-hour porting under pending EU legislation.
‘We have no significant issues about moving to a 24-hour process, but anything faster than this will require considerable investment as the porting system would have to be fully automated. Also, it will often require intervention to undo fraud that is easier caught in a more manual process.
An Orange spokesman said: ‘Orange is looking at Ofcom’s proposals regarding number porting and is considering whether or not the speed and process of number porting is a major customer concern.’
3 said: ‘Alone in Europe UK consumers are forced back to their old operator to get permission to keep their number when they choose a new provider.
‘Mobile number porting should be fast, easy and hassle-free. The current system is outdated and fails both customers and competition. 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.’