If your customer wants to move to a different service provider and keep their number, then you must let them. The number portability rules require service providers to port a customer’s mobile, local or inbound number if the customer or the gaining provider request this, which means you have responsibility to ensure this happens.
The obligations and rules for number portability are set out in Chapter 10 of the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 (Numbering Plan).
Read on to make sure you know your specific obligations and where you can go to find more information.
Mobile number portability
The procedures for porting a mobile number between providers is set out in the Mobile Number Portability Code (MNP Code). Below are the key points
- If a customer or gaining provider requests a port then the losing provider must release the number for porting.
- The previous provider cannot refuse or delay a porting request due to any outstanding debt, however the customer must still pay any fees or outstanding charges after the port is complete.
- The MNP Code rules are dependent on the customer being able to find a gaining provider that is willing to accept their port request. The new provider is not obliged to accept a port request.
- 90% of ports must be completed within three hours and 99% of ports must be completed within two business days.
- The gaining provider must:
- ensure that the customer is authorised to request the port of the mobile number
- advise the customer to not disconnect their existing mobile service as their service must be active before a port can be activate
- advise the customer that there may be costs and obligations associated with their existing mobile service and that an early termination fee with their current provider may apply
- provide information about contract terms and condition.
- If a port request is unauthorised or made in error, the gaining and losing CSP must follow the port reversal process in the MNP Code to reverse the port.
Local number portability
The procedures for porting a local number between providers is set out in the Local Number Portability Code (LNP Code). Below are the key points.
- Portability obligations apply to the service provider that issues numbers to its end customers, and to the chain of any upstream service providers/carriers involved in providing an end customer with the carriage service for a number associated with a local service.
- In a chain of service providers, the household or business customer of the last service provider in the chain (to whom the number has been issued by that service provider) has the rights of use for the number and can port the number.
- LNP provisions are dependent on the customer being able to find a gaining provider that is willing to accept the customer and engage in the porting process.
- Terms and conditions on which LNP is to be provided (referred to as bilateral agreements) are to be agreed between all involved parties. However, failure to establish bilateral agreements does not relieve any party from the obligation to provide LNP.
- Service providers cannot contract out of their statutory obligations. Contractual arrangements with other service providers and carriers should not be used as the sole basis for refusing to port a number that can otherwise be ported.
- Where single numbers from a group of contiguous numbers are issued to a number of end customers, these numbers must still be released for porting following a valid request.
- The LNP Code outlines the processes that two service providers can use to port numbers between each other.
- If a service provider offers an out-of-area number to a customer, they must notify the customer that they may not be able to port the number to another service provider in the future.
Inbound number portability
The procedures for porting an inbound number between providers is set out in the Inbound Number Portability Code (INP Code). Inbound numbers include freephone numbers (1800) and local rate numbers (13, 1300). Below are the key points.
- Portability obligations apply to the service provider that issues numbers to its end customers, and to the chain of any upstream service provider involved in providing an end customer with the carriage service.
- The customer to whom the number has been issued by that service provider has the rights of use for the number and can port the number.
- INP provisions are dependent on the customer being able to find a gaining provider that is willing to port-in the customer’s number.
- The gaining provider must obtain customer authorisation to initiate a port.
- The INP processes ensure continuity of service to the customer where there are faults or difficulty during porting.
- All Carriers who participate in INP must complete the ‘INP Carrier Contact Matrix’ in the INP Code.
Portability and migrating to the NBN
The roll out of the NBN is progressively requiring all fixed-line telephone services to be migrated to the NBN. If a consumer is moving to the NBN and is changing service providers at the same time, they may request that their telephone number be ported to the new service provider. There is no obligation on a new service provider to port in a number in this scenario. When migrating to the NBN, consumers should confirm that their new provider is willing to port their number in prior to agreeing to a NBN service with the new provider.
Draft new rules for migrating to the NBN
The ACMA is currently considering implementing new rules which will help consumers to keep their local telephone number when moving to the NBN. These will require service providers to:
- inform a consumer before they enter into a contract with a service provider for a NBN service whether or not the consumer can keep their telephone number when moving to the NBN
- ensure a consumer can keep using their phone number when moving to the NBN if they are not changing providers.
So now that you know the main points about mobile, local and inbound number portability, have a look at the links below to find out more detailed information about your responsibilities.
Making an enquiry
If a customer has a porting issue they cannot resolve directly with their provider then they should contact the TIO first.
The ACMA can provide additional information on the porting process where required and can consider issues where a provider is refusing to release a number for porting. For enquiries, contact the Industry Services and Numbering Section via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 9963 6800