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UK regulator Ofcom proposes new rules for mobile number portability

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UK regulator Ofcom proposes new rules for mobile number portability

In an effort to streamline the process of mobile number portability of wireless customers, the telecommunications regulator of the United Kingdom Ofcom has proposed new rules that would make the ‘gaining carrier’ (the carrier to which the customer switches to) more responsible for the process.

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Aligning with the portability process followed in the United States, the new modification suggests the customers to contact the carrier they are switching to for the process. The code, which customers require for transferring their mobile number to the new carrier will be sent via a text message or online. The number will not get deactivated until the process completes.

The new proposals are based on the statistics that 38% of customers faced problems during the number portability in the past 18 months. Around 11% of the customers mentioned that they faced difficulty in establishing contact with their current provider. 10% stated difficulty in cancelling the service, whereas 20% people lost their service in the process. 10% also found issues in sustaining their existing mobile numbers. These difficulties prevent the 5.9 million mobile customers from switching mobile operators, which according to Ofcom will be solved through the new rules.

The regulator welcomes the comments for the new proposed rules till 1 June 2016.

Commenting on the reason for the new rules, Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive said, “It is unacceptable for people to be missing out on better mobile deals because they fear the hassle of switching, or are put off having had a poor experience in the past. We want mobile customers to benefit from speedier, simpler switching, making it easier for them to vote with their feet and take advantage of choice in the market.”

Ofcom will also soon scrutinize the problems found in bundled services, where the customer is subscribing to three or four services from a single provider as part of a bundled offering, and will publish the proposals by summer.

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Ria Lakshman. V is a lead news writer at The Telecom Times. She studied Journalism at Manipal School of Communication and proceeded to work in newspapers and magazines, with technology as her focus area. Passionate about Telecommunications sector, her move to 'The Telecom Times' was a natural choice. Alongside, she also writes for Telecom Talk, where she covers news and tech commentaries in the sector of telecom. In the free time, Ria loves to go camping, read books, or sketch illustrations. She also runs a local design studio and promotes eco-friendly crafts. Ria can be found sharing her knowledge and insights on Twitter.

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