Note that this blog was posted on 31 March 2023. An update was added on 20 April 2023 to include the entirety of clause C7.6.
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Ofcom’s General Conditions exist to protect consumers
Ofcom is the communications regulator in the UK.
Their General Conditions of Entitlement apply to all communication providers in the country.
These conditions exist to protect consumers and promote healthy and fair competition in the market.
Any business that’s providing communication services should be familiar with Ofcom’s General Conditions, as they’re a regulatory requirement.
It’s essential to keep up to date with changes, including the latest update around consumers’ right to port.
What does ‘right to port’ mean?
The right to port refers to the ability of a consumer to keep their phone number when switching service providers.
It’s important because it allows people to change providers without having to change their phone number, which can be a hassle and inconvenience.
Update to Ofcom’s General Conditions, effective 3rd April 2023
C7.6 All Regulated Providers shall ensure that:
(a) they provide Number Portability on reasonable terms and conditions to any Switching Customer who so requests;
(b) they provide Number Portability for a minimum of one month after the date of termination by the Switching Customer of the contract for the provision of the Relevant Communications Service(s), unless the Switching Customer expressly agrees otherwise at the point when they terminate the contract; and
(c) no direct charges are applied to the Switching Customer for the provision of Number Portability.
Updated 20th April 2023 to include the entirety of clause C7.6.
The emphasis here is on the retailer to ensure that the customer’s number is not released to be used by another customer.
The eve Voice portal allows resellers to manage this using the DDI assigning tool.
When resellers are notified that a number is ceasing, the reseller can use the DDI assigning tool to remove that number from the organisation, and assign it to their own reseller level.
To make the process easier to manage, we advise that the reseller cancels the eve licences attached to those numbers, as per the cancelled contracts, but leaves the organisation and the associated numbers on the eve platform until the 31 days have passed.
This means that the reseller will have all of the information required, should the number/service need to be restored.
It’s also important that Switching Customers are never charged for the provision of number porting.
If you’re a distributor, we recommend that you share this information with your partners. Feel free to reuse wording from this blog post to save time.
What else is included in Ofcom’s General Conditions?
Some key areas of the General Conditions:
- Provision of services – communications providers must provide services to customers in a reasonable and timely manner and must make sure that their services are of sufficient quality.
- Tariffs and charges – communications providers must publish their tariffs and charges in a clear and transparent manner, and must not impose unfair or discriminatory charges.
- Network security – communications providers must take steps to ensure the security of their networks, and must notify customers of any security breaches that may affect them.
- Emergency services – communications providers must ensure that their services are compatible with the emergency services, and must provide information to the emergency services as requested.
- Complaints handling – communications providers must have effective complaints-handling procedures in place, and must provide customers with information on how to make a complaint.
- Numbering – communications providers must comply with Ofcom’s numbering scheme, which includes rules on the allocation and use of telephone numbers.
- Universal service – communications providers must contribute to the universal service obligation, which ensures that everyone in the UK has access to basic communications services at an affordable price.
The full conditions can be found on the Ofcom website – General Conditions of Entitlement.
As well as providing technology that complies with regulations, we have an interest and a voice in the future of the industry as a whole.
We’re present in industry groups and forums where regulation and consumer needs are discussed. We always share key information with our partners and represent their needs, as well as the needs of end users.
If you’re new to comms, we’re really happy to explain what this means for you and answer any questions you have. Get in touch to find out more.