How can we make porting easier?

 

by Bruce Clark

As many of you are likely aware, the whole UK porting process is somewhat flawed in many areas.

Whilst a large volume of the issues are out of our control, there are a few areas that we can keep as simple as possible to ensure fewer complexities arise throughout a port.

First of all, there’s POV requests:

POV requests (Pre-order Validations) are there to ensure you get all the information you need for a port in the first instance. This would significantly reduce rejections you may be seeing on “incorrect postcode”, “MBN should be multi-line”, “associated numbers missing” to name a few.

Full information on POV requests may be found here, but as a brief summary, for £5 (subject to change) we can submit a Letter of Authorisation (LOA) to the Current Provider, and they will then provide us with all the information needed for ALL the numbers listed on that LOA.

If you’re unsure what the Line Type is, or the correct postcode (as numbers may have many different postcodes associated), this process will ensure you get the port correct on the first attempt!

Then there are LOAs in general:

There are many different providers out there that require us to provide them with the LOA on every porting request. There are others that may ask us for the LOA on random porting requests. When a provider messes up a port and we ask them to fix it, they generally request the LOA before they even investigate the issue!

In short, it’s very important that at the time of submitting a request, you hold a valid LOA. Since the updates to the LOA format on 7th September 2020 (more information here), it has been stated that if an LOA is requested by a provider, then there’s a 24 hour window from that point to get the LOA across. Thankfully, the majority of providers are aware that it may take more than 24 hours, but they are all well within their right to reject anything we’ve sent if they don’t receive that LOA within 24 hours.

All these situations can be made far simpler if you already hold a valid copy of the LOA on file that you’re able to send to us upon request.

Finally, there’s reallocating ported numbers to different End Users:

DON’T! When a range of numbers import into Simwood, they have to export in the same manner. If we’ve ported the number range 01xxxxxxx00 to 01xxxxxxx09 into Simwood, and someone wants to take only 01xxxxxxx06, this is not possible (except see Scenario 3 below!). They would have to export the full 10 numbers in order to take the 1 number they want. This is because a range of numbers will port and be processed as a block, and not 10 separate lines. For example, if a block of 10 numbers are associated, then some providers may only be able to apply a change to the whole block and not per number.

If you’ve imported 10 numbers, but the End User only wants 2 of them, then the other 8 numbers should NEVER be reallocated. The two options here are:

  1. Keep these numbers on your account, so if the End User does change their mind and wish for more numbers, these may be allocated with ease
  2. Send a ticket in to porting@simwood.com stating you wish to cease X numbers.

So, what’s the problem if we’ve allocated numbers from a ported range to different End Users?

Well, without considering the extra admin involved, the potential “Dispute of Ownership”, the potential involvement of other providers / Ofcom etc, there would be a few likely scenarios…

Let’s say an End User (Alice) is assigned 1 of the 10 numbers and wishes to port their number away. They submit their porting request alongside the LOA to their chosen (gaining) provider. The provider submits the porting request and receives a rejection stating there are a block of 10 numbers involved in this port.

Scenario 1 – Alice is adamant that she only holds 1 number and brings this to the attention of her chosen provider. She is then advised to seek further advice (potentially from Ofcom) to exercise her “Right to Port”. 

After a potentially long process, she is granted the ability to move her number (and by extension the 10 numbers in the range). Alice choses to move her 1 number and has successfully done so, and by doing so she’s taken the other 9 numbers out of service. 

The (up to 9) other End Users have lost their numbers without warning and will now need to find new ones and go through their own processes to update their details as necessary.

Scenario 2 – Alice continues to try and port her number, but as it’s tied to 9 others, the other End User(s) involved reject the port. 

Alice continues trying to port her 1 number, and provides written confirmation alongside the LOA to state she just wants her number to port, but the other users do not wish to port their numbers just because Alice has chosen to do so. 

As Alice realises she can’t port her number without confirmation from the other users of the range, she reluctantly stays with her current provider and realises her “Right to Port” is no longer available.

Scenario 3 – There is one option which allows all involved to be happy. This option allows Alice to port her number if she so chooses, and allows the other End Users to remain with their current provider. This is achievable by us speaking to the Range Holder and requesting they “split the range”. In today’s world, more and more numbers are working over IP, meaning it’s not particularly tricky to take a range of numbers, and port / prefix them individually. 

If the Range Holder is willing to “split the range”, then all the numbers can port / remain as required. This is an “as a last resort” option and is completely up to the discretion of the Range Holder and if they’re able / capable / willing to do so.

While you may be thinking “Okay, then why can’t we choose this scenario each time?”, we most certainly would if it was a possibility. Unfortunately the Range Holder(s) who are unable / incapable / unwilling to “split the ranges”, are the ones that hold around 80% of number ranges. 

Not only are these providers unwilling to help, they are difficult to contact / communicate with, and even when everything has been confirmed in simple terms and in black and white, these providers may either port the whole range without any request, or just say “yes we can” one day, and “no we can’t” the next.

So to conclude this topic, never reallocate numbers from a ported range to other End User(s), or you may be saying goodbye to all of them.

Embracing these three topics would greatly assist us to help you further. If you can provide us with valid LOAs upon request, or you’ve been able to obtain all the necessary information prior to a port, then we can get those ports processed (and revert to providers when necessary) in record time!

As always, if you have any questions on the above, or on porting in general, please drop us an email at team@simwood.com and we’ll get back to you.