Switch your mobile number between networks within one working day
Soon, you'll be able to transfer your mobile number to another network within one working day.
Yep. Britain is going to fall in line with EU guidelines as of April 2011, Ofcom ruled today, following a shed-load of red-tapery between the communications regulator and the mobile telecoms industry.
As it stands, mobile operators are allowed to take two working days before allowing you to "port" your number to your new service provider.
Ofcom originally tried to bring this down to two hours, but lost a court challenge from Vodafone, O2 and Orange in 2008.
Basically, what Ofcom has decided is that the code required to switch provider and retain a number (called a PAC if you're wondering) should be issued to consumers immediately over the phone or within a maximum of two hours via text message.
Normally, PACs are sent out by post and, knowing how shoddy the Royal Mail are, that could take years to arrive at your house.
"Ensuring consumers can switch between communications providers by removing unnecessary barriers is one of Ofcom's priorities for 2010/11," said the regulator's chief executive, Ed Richards to the Guardian. "Being able to switch quickly and easily between mobile providers is an important part of healthy and effective competition."
Of course, this decision didn't pass without someone having a whine. 3, the fourth-largest UK mobile operator are said to be narked that the onus for moving the number still falls on the customer, rather than the operators involved, and accused Ofcom of failing UK consumers.
It said that the system of "recipient-led porting" was "the fundamental platform for choice and competition" in the mobile market. "Nowhere else in Europe is a consumer forced to ask permission to take their number with them when they choose a new operator," said a 3 spokesman. "The donor-led porting system that Ofcom proposes to keep makes it more difficult for customers."
God. This is really boring isn't it?