New Number Porting rules go live

Ofcom /

Better protection for customers moving their phone number to a new provider

In October 2018, Ofcom put the telecom's industry on notice and wrote an open letter demanding the creation of a new process to override unlawful blocking of number porting.

Following on from Ofcom's request, the Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG) introduced a concept to 'override' the unlawful blocking of a number port which was put on trial in April 2019.

Today, Ofcom announced that the Porting Override Request (POR) process is now live and has been rolled out as a standard process within the industry. This means that if you experience problems when switching providers, your old provider can be put on notice and be given five days to resolve any issues. If that doesn't happen, you’ll be able to trigger a process that will enable your new provider to override any obstacles.

Why do we need an override process?

The POR process exists to address three main problems:

  • Need to counter deliberate miss-use of the Number Portability (NP) process by a Losing Provider (or any other parties in the losing supply chain) intent on blocking the End User’s legal right to retain their Telephone Number when switching to a new Communications Provider.

  • Need to counter deliberate non-co-operation from the Losing Provider (or any other parties in the losing supply chain) when receiving a legitimate port order such as disregarding industry agreed processes.

  • Need to counter a Losing Providers malpractice of continuing to block an End User’s port request by unilaterally ‘suspending/ceasing’ the End User’s service which renders the port request invalid.

How does the POR process work?

The POR process has six steps and can be used when porting Geographic and Non-Geographic Numbers on any type of residential or business line.

Before the POR process can be initiated, the Gaining Provider and Gaining Wholesale Provider must both have knowledge of the port in questions, and the issues preventing its progress.

Once both parties have agreed to proceed, the Gaining Wholesale Provider acts as the POR Sponsor.

STEP 1 - POR Alert

The Gaining Wholesale Provider should send a POR Alert to the Losing Provider to advise them that the End User intends to register a formal complaint to Ofcom, and that a POR is being prepared.
The Losing Provider should acknowledge receipt of the POR Alert within 24 hours.

STEP 2 - POR Trigger

For the POR process to be triggered, the Gaining Provider will ask the End User to register a formal complaint via Ofcom’s website. Once the End User has registered the complaint, they will be given an Ofcom complaint reference number.

STEP 3 - POR Evidence Pack

The Gaining Wholesale Provider will need to gather evidence to support their POR; this will usually be in the form of emails sent by End User to the Losing Provider. There’s a maximum of 5 working days allowed to gather evidence.

STEP 4 – POR Pack submission

Once all of the evidence and information has been gathered, the Gaining Wholesale Provider submits it to the Executive Authorisation Panel (EAP) for approval.

STEP 5 – POR Executive Authorisation Panel (EAP)

The EAP comprises of 3 people (the Office of The Telecoms Adjudicator (OTA) plus two selected Wholesalers). The Executive Authorisation Panel will convene and review the POR and supporting evidence within 48 hours.

Once the POR has been approved, the Office of The Telecoms Adjudicator (OTA) will send the authorised POR back to the Gaining Wholesale Provider for their immediate attention.

STEP 6 – POR execution and closure

An authorised POR enables the Gaining Wholesale Provider to initiate a Number Portability Override Request which is fast-tracked to allow the Number Port to go ahead ASAP, or in line with the End Users wishes.

Thoughts from TTNC

We welcome Ofcom's new Number Porting Override Request process. It helps protect people from the inconvenience and cost of having to change their phone number. This is particularly important for businesses, who would face significant costs and other issues if they had to change their phone number.

Porting numbers to TTNC

If you have a telephone number with another provider that you'd like to move to TTNC, then please visit our Number porting page.

We can port in most UK Numbers beginning with 01, 02, 03 and 08 from more than 50 other UK service providers. It takes between 7 to 10 working days to port a number, and the number stays active with your old provider right up until it switches to us, so there's no downtime.

Paul Bell