UK Geographic number portability begins with the Gaining Communications Provider (CP) receiving a request and, where appropriate, a Letter of Authority from the end user to port a number(s) to that end users new supplier.
This request is then sent onto the Losing CP, either directly or through one or more intermediary wholesale partner operators for acceptance. Then, the port is either accepted or rejected. If accepted, a specific date is provided when the port will take place.
Sounds simple right?
It isn’t… Unfortunately, number portability has always been an afterthought, especially in the UK in recent years. It was deemed not to provide much (if any) commercial benefit to certain incumbent operators, so it did not receive the investment and attention needed to make the system work well for consumers or the industry. Neither has it been improved in line with advances in approaches to number portability around the globe. As a result of this antiquated system for porting, there are lots of workflow issues and it remains a huge cost centre for the industry.
Part of the cost is due to the data validation process. As the procedure is highly complex and because there are varying porting scenarios (we have more than 10) it is largely still a manual process. The process relies on accurately recorded data being inputted and stored throughout the chain. As a result, many port requests are rejected once or even multiple times.
In our experience, there are five main reasons that an order is rejected by the Losing CP. These are:
- Incorrect postcode
- Incorrect line type
- Not all number(s) detailed (it is vital to include other numbers/all DDI ranges/associated numbers and single DDIs when completing a porting request to avoid unnecessary rejections)
- Losing CP is incorrect
- Security lines/RedCare etc associated with the number(s)
If a port order is rejected for any of the five main reasons listed above, then the process needs to begin again, and the timescales will reset. This is time consuming and usually avoidable if all the correct data is clarified/validated and provided from the outset.
Additionally, specific details of each order, such as the line type, if any numbers are to remain/cease and whether it is a subsequent or provider port, can also have a big impact on how complex the order is to manage, as well as the timescales. Geographic ports can take anything from 4-25 working days depending on the scenario.
Now imagine having tens, let alone hundreds, of in-progress ports, each of varying types and with many being rejected, this becomes highly challenging to track and hugely complex to manage.
That’s why we’ve built our Geographic single-line and multi-line porting dashboard and APIs, which are designed to take the stress away from the day to day geographic porting administration and to reduce our partners porting resource requirements. These tools aim to do at least some of the data validation automatically for our customers and keeps them abreast of the latest status of each of their pending ports.