Ofcom has launched a consultation on the process used to change mobile provider and port their number.

The current process requires a consumer wishing to port their number to first inform their provider and request a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC), which they must provide within 24 hours. That code, which is valid for one month, must then be issued to their new provider in order to retain their existing number. Ofcom said it is concerned this process has led to some operators making it deliberately difficult to switch provider and as of last month, opened an investigation into arrangements for cancelling services.

The investigation comes after it was revealed that operators were using ‘dirty tricks’ to delay providing PAC codes and ultimately preventing customers from leaving. The regulator has already requested feedback from UK operators on the current system and is now inviting comments from operators and other parties involved in the industry for ideas on how to change the porting process. Interested parties must submit comment by October 6th.

Ofcom has already suggested the introduction of its ‘gaining-operator led service’, that would cut out the part where customers have to contact the network they are leaving.

Ofcom requested users with suggestions go online to www.ofcom.org.uk and select the stakeholders option, which brings up contact details where ideas can be submitted.