Four Years of Portability in Romania

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The amount of ported numbers has grown steadily since the introduction of the portability service on 21 October 2008. Thus, 15,681 numbers were ported in the last three months of 2008, 180,239 numbers were ported in 2009, another 221,219 numbers were ported in 2010, up by 23% as compared to 2009, and this trend was maintained in 2011, when the amount of ported numbers grew by 18% to 260,256. In the January-October 2012 timeframe, 195,818 numbers have been ported and ANCOM estimates that this year the amount of ported numbers will exceed the level registered last year.

“Four years after ANCOM introduced the portability service, we may say that the more than 870,000 Romanians who decided to change their telephony provider are the clear proof of a dynamic and competitive market, which offers its customers the freedom to choose”, Mr. Cătălin Marinescu, the President of ANCOM, said on the occasion of the four-year celebration of the introduction in Romania of number portability.

Out of the total 873,213 numbers ported until 15 October 2012, 586,252 are mobile telephone numbers, accounting for 67% of the total, a share which maintained a constant course all these four years. The statistical data show that the postpaid users are keener to port their numbers (74%) as opposed to the prepaid users. In the mobile telephony segment, the operators involved in the porting process share the mobile numbers ported so far as follows: Cosmote accepted 195,349 numbers, Vodafone 194,774, Orange 189,508, RCS & RDS 5,894, and Telemobil 719. In the 4 years from the introduction of number portability, the largest amount of mobile telephone numbers was ported in 2011 – 177,111.

As for fixed telephony, 34 providers share between them the 286,961 numbers ported until now. Out of these, most numbers were ported into the networks of UPC Romania – 76,737, RCS & RDS – 75,263, Orange – 57,588, Vodafone – 51,823, and Romtelecom – 12,657. Most requests for the porting of the fixed number were registered in Bucharest (84,306 numbers), followed by Cluj county with 21,298 ported numbers, Timis (15,348), Prahova (15,235) and Galati (13,003), which together stand for more than 50% of the total ported fixed telephone numbers.

During the four years since the introduction of number portability in Romania, 16,000 persons ported on average every month, whereas December is the month registering the largest amount of ported numbers.

Starting September 2012, a ported number is activated within one working day, as provided for by the European rules, while the maximum duration of related administrative procedures and the maximum possible duration of service interruption were also reduced. Thus, if in the second half of 2012, before the entry into force of the new provisions on portability, the average duration of service interruption was 86 minutes for fixed telephony users and 27 minutes for mobile telephony users, in September this duration decreased to 64, respectively 24 minutes, levels which are below the regulated ones.

The most frequent aspects signalled by the users all along this years by means of the 685 complaints lodged in relation to portability concerned the failure of the providers to offer full and adequate information to their customers regarding the porting process, as well as delayed achievement of porting as compared to the date agreed for its completion. The most frequent reasons for which a donor provider rejected a porting application referred to the inconsistency between the series of the SIM card and the number for which the porting was requested, the erroneous entry of the subscriber code or wrong installation address. It is worth mentioning that these reasons also generated delays in the porting process.