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Numbers should be portable, insists Reding

One-day porting plea

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As the EU finalises the demands it's going to make of mobile phone operators in Europe, Viviane Reding has posted a passionate video arguing for 24-hour number portability across Europe.

Unusually, it's not the UK that comes off worst this time around. The UK's few days pale into insignificance when compared to the 38 days that punters in Poland have to wait to port a phone number, while Italians have to wait more than two weeks to get a number transferred between networks.

The arguments revolve around the technical logistics of transferring numbers quickly, as well as the necessity of controlling slamming - dodgy companies transferring customers without approval. It also doesn't help if the regulator screws up the paperwork.

Reding makes the point that users in Hong Kong can move their number in two hours, but such a tight timescale would make it difficult to prevent slamming in an industry where the practice is already rife, so a balance needs to be established.

Reding's video explains how the EU takes credit for the idea of number portability, and the idea is indeed enshrined in EU legislation; but the existing rules don't put a time limit on the process - which is what Viviane is trying to change. ®

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