Paris, 31st January 2012
Since 12th January 2012, both the EGP (Entité de gestion de la portabilité) economic interest group (EIG) - which is the entity common to electronic communications operators in charge of managing the mobile number portability process in France - and mobile operators have been contending with an exceptional increase in portability requests, following the launch of Free Mobile's services. The number of requests being treated has in fact risen from 12,000 a day, which was the average in 2011, to 40,000 a day, which is the current system's maximum capacity.
On 13th January, ARCEP informed the EGP EIG of the urgent need to implement all of the means necessary to handle this exceptional surge in the number of portability requests.
The Authority therefore welcomes the fact that on Friday, 27th January, with ARCEP present, the EGP EIG and operators agreed in principle to increase the system's processing capacity to 80,000 portability requests per day, in an incremental fashion to avoid putting the mobile number portability system in France in peril. ARCEP also invites operators to increase the capacity of their respective information systems proportionately.
Furthermore, in a letter dated 30th January 2012, the Chairman of ARCEP reminded the portability management entity and the member operators on its board of directors that, in accordance with the applicable texts, they must ensure compliance with the principle of non-discrimination and provide consumers with clear and transparent information on how mobile number portability requests are processed.
In the meantime, it is crucial that mobile subscribers wanting to keep their number while switching operators not lose their number nor experience a disproportionately long interruption of their service. It is therefore vital that mobile operators ensure that customers are supplied with their new mobile connection before the actual porting date and that they inform customers of the scheduled date. Mobile operators must also be able to process any retractions or cancellations of portability requests within the legal time limits, so that customers do not find themselves without a telephone service.