ISPreview Study - Fear of Phone Number Loss Hampers UK Provider Switching
The latest ISPreview survey of over 1,100 internet users in the United Kingdom has found that 49% are discouraged from switching broadband ISP because they're afraid of losing their phone number in the process, which is something that 32% have already experienced.
The loss of a phone number, especially if you've had it for many years, can be hugely disruptive and may require a large amount of administration in order to correctly update all of your contacts. Suffice to say that most people would rather keep it, but that's not always possible.
Sometimes switching broadband and phone provider means losing your current landline phone number. Does this discourage you from switching?
Yes - 49%
No - 47%
Unsure - 3%
Have you ever lost your previous landline phone number while switching broadband ISP?
No - 61%
Yes - 32%
Unsure - 7%
Some 59% of respondents to the survey said they felt as if Ofcom, the national communications regulator, wasn't doing enough to improve number portability between providers (i.e. just 12% felt they were doing enough and 28% didn't care because they only use a mobile phone or VoIP service).
Ofcom's General Condition 18 ("Number Portability") rule imposes an obligation upon ISPs to provide number portability to their subscribers and to provide portability to other communications providers. Unfortunately such rules don't cover every eventuality and problems can still occur.
Mark Jackson, ISPreview.co.uk's Founder, said, "Phone numbers are most often lost when moving home (i.e. you have to get a new line and number installed), which usually occurs because you've either moved into a completely different area code, never had a fixed line phone number before or you're still in the same region but are being covered by a different telephone exchange.
"We've also seen various examples where people have lost their number while moving between unbundled (e.g. TalkTalk) and / or BT based providers, even though they may still be in the same house and on the same overall Openreach network. This tends to occur due to a combination of poor communication between ISPs and the lack of an effective management system for handling such changes.
"The good news is that over the next few years broadband and phone services will become increasingly separate. Meanwhile more people are now viewing their Mobile number as a primary contact or using VoIP in order to maintain greater control, which will become increasingly common. Nevertheless Ofcom could probably do more to ensure that numbers are not lost unnecessarily," concluded Jackson.