MSE news: Mobile switching times could be slashed to two hours

in Mobiles
8 replies 1.2K views
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:
"Communications regulator Ofcom wants to ease the mobile switching process by hastening the time it takes to transfer your number, possibly to within two hours.

It currently takes two working days to move your number to a new provider. Ofcom has launched a consultation asking for ..."


  • edited 4 August 2009 at 12:30AM
    KaiKai Forumite
    87 Posts
    edited 4 August 2009 at 12:30AM
    In my experience,

    3 generate your PAC almost immediately (although it can be a bit of a lottery as to whether they actually do it) and pass it onto you over the phone.

    Just today, Virgin generated my PAC over the phone and gave it to me after asking them to move (PAYG).

    T-Mobile also generate a code over the phone and give it to you immediately providing you're eligible.

    I think O2 generate codes and give them out over the phone too.

    Finally that leaves Vodafone and Orange... I can't remember what Vodafone do, but they can be arsey about cancellations, requiring you to write in to cancel.

    For Orange... they say they have to generate a PAC and send it to you by post. Takes 3-5 working days - including the weekend that is about a week! Not good enough in my opinion.

    Porting into the network used to be a nightmare too since there used to be rules about when you could port in (first 7-14 days). Thankfully that now seems to be behind us and most if not all the networks now allow you to port in anytime during your contract.

    Funnily enough, 3 seemed to provide the best service, keeping me up to date with the process and it happened when they said it would. It took just under two days - as I seem to remember it happening very quickly and that surprised me. I'm also pretty sure that 3 were one of the earliest to allow porting numbers in at any stage of your contract.

    I just ported into an O2 contract using their webpage. It was a little daunting at first since they don't really contact you at all to keep you up to date. I submitted their form and I got a standard email message saying that they've received some form of contact, but for about 4 days afterwards I got nothing. Finally on the last day, a text message appeared saying that the transfer was going to go ahead that day. I thought it was a little substandard from O2 since they have an excellent tracking system for their Broadband ordering service.

    I have no experience of prting in with other providers.

    However, there isn't really any reason for it to drag on over a day or even a few hours, espcially these days. It makes me think of cheques and waiting for them to clear.
  • chriswattschriswatts Forumite
    136 Posts
    Just checked I obtained my PAC code from T-mobile on previous Monday up and running on Vodafone Tuesday afternoon. Seems to be OK as it is, who needs a 2 hour transfer?

    One thing I did notice is that T-mobile confirmation of a PAC arrived a week later in the post, question is if someone managed to get all the necessary details could they then switch your phone to a new network under two hours without you knowing? I know T-mobile send a confirmation to your phone within seconds, although they use to also resend the PAC code. Perhaps two hours would be too short to sort it out?
  • fiishfiish Forumite
    730 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    There is indeed a risk to this new porting approach that someone who got hold of your account details could just switch you over to another network without your knowledge, as chriswatts said, it is a tactic called 'slamming' and if it's not already illegal I think it should be.

    That being said, if that happens to you there's going to be a lot of hassle to sort it out. Being slammed and having very little time to respond (especially if you don't know who is doing it) means many people will get caught out and have a mess to sort out, which will take time, incur monetary costs and possibly be denied phone service for a time.

    On the other hand, if everyone plays nice this works out quite well for us consumers. As is written in the threads about trying to cancel contracts, a network could hold you hostage for some time by either refusing to issue the PAC or making you wait for it. Receiver-driven porting takes care of that problem.

    3 seem to think they have the most to benefit from this as they have the smallest user base and have to fight lots of retention deals from the bigger networks (although a cynical side of me thinks they will resort to slamming without a lot of hesitation).
    Debt free and watching my savings shrink!
  • edited 4 August 2009 at 12:09AM
    greystergreyster Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    edited 4 August 2009 at 12:09AM
    It has a while to go, plans were halted last September while the networks got their costing together. I doubt this will be in until sometime later next year. And that is a guess because no date has been given yet... must be soon though.

    The only network that really wants this is three (by far the smallest network), the other networks must really hate this idea. As it is lowering the barriers to jump ship, great for the consumer though! I'm sure when it it comes though, a great marketing spin will be put on it, just like Vodafone roaming abroad!,1000000085,39631285,00.htm
  • M4RKMM4RKM Forumite
    5.1K Posts
    they need to do something. I was in the US in March, had a sim with t-mobile usa, and moved to AT&T... took 3 hours in total from walking out of the shop, until my AT&T sim was working with my existing number..

    bear in mind i'm not a US citizen, so i'm a special case as I don't have a SSN which most cell providers need across there.. but, it all worked, and i'm shocked at how bad the UK service is in comparison to this..

    and the US isn't famed for having the best cell phones.. (until the iphone came out!)

  • KaiKai Forumite
    87 Posts
    I just got off the phone to Vodafone. I took out a sim only plan the other day and wanted to port my old number in.

    Now I have no idea what the guy was on about, but he said that it had to be done at point of sale - only I didn't notice the 'Keep your existing number' option (it's in a tiny text box). However, he said then said that it should still be possible as long as it's done within 7 days of me taking out the plan. (Which it was within).

    Then he told me about some convoluted process of disconnecting my phone and setting me up with a new plan - exactly the same with my new ported in number. However, that wouldn't be done until Thursday, 4pm (minimum of 2 working days). He said I won't have any Vodafone service at all until Thursday? He even went as far to say that as soon as he authorises the porting to go ahead, the current line might drop, so I should try stay on the line as long as possible. I just finished the call just now and the line didn't drop and I note that I still have service.

    Now I'm thoroughly confused by this as I have ported numbers in and across networks many times and each time has been a pretty smooth process. Vodafone's method seems completely crazy when nearly all the other networks allow you to port a number in at anytime with minimal disruption of service. I can't say that I'm too impressed.
  • chriswattschriswatts Forumite
    136 Posts
    Vodafone's method is a bit crazy, they don't provide temporary numbers like other networks do and thus a new SIM has to be assigned to your number. Probably trying to cut back on mobile numbers. Inform them before hand and the process only takes a day.
  • KaiKai Forumite
    87 Posts
    It does seem so. I've just been disconnected and have to go back to my old network for the time being. The guy did mention that a new sim wouldn't be sent out.. so I just assume my current Vodafone sim will magically come back to life on Thursday.

    Vodafone should really make it more obvious how important it is to provide your PAC when purchasing the plan online. I'm usually a very careful person and I certainly didn't notice it.
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