Number portability lets a customer keep their number when changing telephone company or provider, although moving to a new telephone company does not cancel any obligations they may have in relation to the previous provider.
The regulatory framework
The regulatory framework for number portability is a combination of formal government regulation and industry-wide self regulation. It is co-ordinated and governed by the:
The Telecommunications Act 1997
The Act sets out the main responsibilities of the ACMA and the ACCC in relation to the portability of allocated numbers.
The ACCC has amended the definition of 'portable services' to include the following services for which number portability must be provided:
A direction to include Premium Rate Number Portability as a service for which number portability must be provided was revoked by the ACCC in 2009, as Telstra remains the only carrier offering premium rate services; therefore premium rate numbers are not portable. The directions and revocation are available here.
The Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015
The Numbering Plan rules ensure carriers and CSPs :
have the capability and technology to provide portability
allow a customer to port away their number
provide an equivalent service on the ported number if it agrees to a provide a service on the ported number.
The ACMA has a role enforcing compliance with the requirements of the Numbering Plan.
Industry codes are used to set out procedures between telephone companies that enable a customer to retain their phone number when transferring from one company to another or changing carrier networks. The codes also specify time frames for portability transactions.
More information on industry codes is available from:
The ACMA has a role enforcing compliance with registered telecommunications industry codes.
A telephone company that cannot meet its obligations under the Numbering Plan may apply to the ACMA for an exemption.
In deciding the application the ACMA must consider:
the network capacity of a CSP or carrier
the support systems available to a CSP or carrier
any other matters the ACMA considers relevant.
The ACMA may approve an exemption if:
The ACMA may consult the ACCC on the application or may consult other stakeholders in making its decision.
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