April 1, 2016
The first stage of Ofcom’s ruling on mobile phone number portability comes into effect today. Transferring a number from one provider to another must now happen within 2 day, compared with 5 days previously.
From September, the time allowed for the number to be switched will be reduced even further – to just two hours.
At the moment, when a mobile number is transferred to a new provider, calls to the number are routed through the old provider to the new one. The original provider can levy a donor conveyance charge for re-routing the call.
Under a new mobile number portability system, all telephone numbers will be stored on a central basis, making it much easier to transfer a number.
As well as improving the customer experience, Ofcom also expects the new system to strengthen competition, as customers will be more willing to move to a new provider if it is easy to take their number with them.
Ofcom has estimated that it will cost £12m to build the new database, but companies such as Vodafone claim that it could actually cost as much as £120m.