Porting Round One: Vodafone Vs Ofcom

by : John Gray

Ofcom have called for number porting time to be quicker than it currently is. It currently takes approximately seven days for numbers to port over, but Ofcom want this to be reduced to two days by the 31st March 2008.

Three are backing this all the way, and O2 have announced that they will be introducing the two day porting two weeks earlier than the regulatory required date of the 31st March. T-Mobiles views are not yet known, but Vodafone and Orange are against the change in porting time.

Vodafone have appealed to the CAT (Competition Appeals Tribunal) against Ofcoms porting proposals, there argument being that quicker porting will increase cases of mobile phone 'slamming'. This issue could be easily resolved if the network contacted the customer (via text) who had requested the number port, stating the date the port will go through and asking the customer to contact the network ASAP if they did not request for this to be done.

In Ireland numbers are ported within a maximum of two hours, and RegCom (Ireland's regulatory body) are not aware of any surges in 'slamming' cases. Surprisingly Vodafone should already know this as they have a 45% share of customers in Ireland.

Vodafone also claim that the central database that will need to be created for the number ports to go through within two days will cost ten times more that the ?12 million that Ofcom have estimated.

The case will be held on the 5th March, any networks that also want to intervene will have to intervene quickly as they only have until the 29th February to do so. Orange intend to formally register their interests with the CAT and BT haven't ruled out intervening as Vodafone are BT's MVNO partner.