Customers have the right to keep their mobile number when changing from one service provider to another.
Porting allows consumers to choose between competing providers based on price, quality, type of service and coverage without the inconvenience of changing their mobile number.
The obligations and rules governing mobile number portability (MNP) are set out in the Telecommunications Act and Chapter 10 of the Numbering Plan. The numbering plan sets outs out specific obligations for all carriers and CSPs regarding number portability.
The Mobile Number Portability industry Code (MNP Code) sets out the procedural arrangements required to port a mobile number between providers. The code specifies the general rules including timeframes for portability (performance levels) and the porting processes including the requirements for customer authorisations.
- The losing provider must port a number to a gaining provider if the customer or the gaining provider (at the customer’s request) requests a port.
- The losing provider cannot refuse or delay a porting request due to any outstanding debt; however the customer is still obliged to fulfil any contractual obligations with the losing provider, including payment of any fees or outstanding charges after the port is completed.
- MNP provisions are dependent on the customer being able to find a gaining provider that is willing to accept the customer’s port request. There is no obligation on a gaining provider to accept a port request.
- Performance levels: 90% of ports to be completed within 3 hours and 99% of ports to 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 current service must be active before a port can be activated
- 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 conditions.
- A port reversal must be undertaken if a port was unauthorised and the customer wishes to return to the previous provider.
A carrier or CSP must comply with the Numbering Plan, including the portability requirements.
A failure to comply (such as a refusal to port a number) may lead to proceedings under Part 31 of the Telecommunications Act.
Complaints about a contravention of the MNP Code should be referred to the Communications Alliance.
Complaints should be lodged with the losing provider in the first instance.
If the complaint remains unresolved, consumers can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). The TIO offers a fast, free and fair dispute resolution service for small business and residential customers that have a complaint about their telephone or internet service in Australia www.tio.com.au.
Mobile Number Portability Code
Industry Services and Numbering Section
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