back to article Ofcom to start new number mobility consultation

Following years of legal filibustering from the incumbent networks, the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, has published new consultations on both the technical management and customer experience involved in moving a mobile-phone number. Right now it's supposed to take two days to port a number between mobile network operators …

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Stop

Without PACs...

Without any PACs being used, how long before we start hearing stories of "slamming" that's been prevalent in the domestic energy business, and/or people losing their numbers because someone typed the wrong number into the computer?

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Virgin

I just switched from Virgin PAYG to Vodafone. Called up Virgin Customer Service on Saturday afternoon, and they gave me my PAC instantly, no hassle, no cross-examination. Whats all the fuss?

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Anonymous Coward

Joke

Even over here with the technological titans that are the Irish they manage to get this right, much beter than ever in blighty! (about 14mins from O2 to 3, didnt say a word to O2);

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OFCOM

Have once again shown they are buffoons.

The requirement for a PAC is to stop networks from stealing each other's customers without their knowledge. It is a security measure, and no-one will convince me that getting rid is a good idea.

However, the call forwarding malarkey is tosh. What ofcom need to do it have the number transfered to the control of the new provider. It's not a difficult one.

Or even better put mobile numbers in the hands of someone neutral and let US own our mobile numbers.

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Flame

Too little too late.

This just shows what kind of an organisation Ofcom is, they've sat still and done little or nothing to protect the consumer over the past ten years, and only when they face the Tory axe do they decide to pull their finger out and do some fucking work.

Kill them, kill them now.

How many other quangos have been and continue doing nothing? Obviously the current government has no problem with these organisations doing fuck all, hell, Ofcom would still be doing jack if not for the recent publicity...

The "public interest" is just an excuse to funnel money into trophy jobs for fat, incumbent civil servants who chose the right allegiances.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/smagdali/184117319/

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WTF?

Er, woah

I've moved my number from Cellnet (original contract started back in 1993) to Orange, to Vodafone and now O2. Who collects the termination fee and who gets paid, as Cellnet eventually morphed into O2?

Maybe every call I make has a small quantity of money being passed perpetually between all the companies involved... and mine's a simple one, I know many people who change networks like they change their pants - once or twice a year :)

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FAIL

That's remarkably close to my conversation with 3

Except when I said I couldn't get reception in my flat, after trying the tactics in the video, the operator said I must be able to get reception because I'd made several 20 minute calls from there!

Do 3s call centre staff have access to my entire call history, including the locations the calls were made from? That's ridiculous.

For the record, I was in the garden for those calls (or wedged in a corner of my kitchen, which worked for some reason,) because I COULDN'T GET RECEPTION IN MY FLAT!! Insisting that you're wrong and you can get reception because the map says so seems to be a standard tactic.

35 minutes seems to be about the length of time that 3s Indian computers take to generate a PAC code. Wish I'd recorded my call now.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Forget it

Let's just forget the whole "number portability" thing anyway, shall we? It's a freakin' phone number, is all. A means of identifying which of the millions of telephones in the world is going to ring when it's dialled, so you can hopefully speak to the right person. To regard telephone numbers as anyone's property is utterly absurd. "Your" telephone number does not exist for your benefit, but for the benefit of the people who may have reason to be calling you.

The ability to identify a person's phone network by the STD code is a useful feature, and anything that subverts that usefulness is a DNW.

And all this mess is just a bad side effect of someone's attempt to try to inject some artificial intrinsic value into something which has none.

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Boffin

@Dr Mouse

"However, the call forwarding malarkey is tosh. What ofcom need to do it have the number transfered to the control of the new provider. It's not a difficult one."

...however it does make routing tables much smaller if you route, say, all 07973 numbers to Orange and let them handle the distribution of ported subscribers, than for all operators to know which network all UK subscribers were using.

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Anonymous Coward

@ EdwardP

Nice to see someone bringing up the water bottles again. They're filled on site with good old council pop (tap water). Contrary to your intentions, it shows Ofcom saving money by not buying in gallons upon gallons of water everyday.

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Headmaster

Spurious adjective

>>by not buying in gallons upon gallons of water everyday<<

"everyday" (adj) - common, normal

"every day" (adv phrase) - each day

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Headmaster

@ Nano nano

Care to explain why you've pointed out one simple typo in a comment which lacks full stops, verbs or even the vaguest pretence of grammatical correctness?

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Thumb Down

Non-Geographic Numbers

Ofcom sat on new rules and price changes for two years after discovering issues with forcing a "you will be charged..." message on existing NGNs could risk lives.

I replaced 200 branded NGN numbers (0870 - 0844s) to the original time scales. Then got lambasted for doing so "early".

Then the Tories talked out. Now the changes are happening!

Not to mention sitting on fence about Phorm. BT got sense in the end.

A bit of topic. But they are useless.

From a Call Centre IT Manager.

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Alert

@ Mr Stiles...

"And all this mess is just a bad side effect of someone's attempt to try to inject some artificial intrinsic value into something which has none"

Actually, if you use your mobile for business then having to change it is a PITA. It's on your business cards, it's in your customer's phones, phone books and heads. Keeping your number but being able to change provider is a big deal in these circumstances for a lot of people. And you might want to do that if you move house/office to a poor reception area or if your service provider gets crap/bought.

Out in the country (Cornwall in our case) one of the most important reasons for choosing an operator is how good the reception is, which can be highly localised and not related to simple distance from nearest town.

Keeping your number can mean the difference between making and not making money and staying in business.

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Stop

@Dr Mouse

Essentially what you're saying is "Hello, I don't know how mobile networks actually work but nevertheless I feel strangely empowered and driven to comment on them."

Number ranges are assigned to individual operators and these form the basis of the routing tables that direct calls to specific operators. If someone ports that fact is recorded by the original operator owning that number and range. So if I port from Orange to O2 my calls are first routed to Orange who look the number up in their database. That database says that my number is now with O2 and the call gets routed there.

The alternative to this is for every operator, fixed, mobile and VoIP to have routing tables that contain individual numbers rather than ranges - increasing their size by about a million times assuming six digit numbers within those ranges. I'd bet that not every switch in the network can cope with a routing table increased in size by a million times and that such a solution might slow the network down a little.

The third way is an independent look-up database perhaps looking a bit like ENUM - but that would require lots of investment from all the operators, which they're unwilling to spend as the only benefit to them is losing their customers to other operators more quickly.

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@Greem

O2, as the original network operator of your number collects the termination fee and as your number is now back with them they get to keep the money.

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Flame

@John Dee

So it's tap water. Yet they spend money on buying in customized bottles? And you're telling me this is a cost saving exercise?

Meanwhile, in the real world, where people must shoulder the burden of paying for their luxury items, we use a sodding glass.

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