The Communications Ministry said Thursday it will take a series of steps to improve the effectiveness of and stimulate further and faster growth in the phone number portability program that took effect at the beginning of the month. "The first 10 days of the program have gone much according to what we expected," the Ministry said in a statement."We are talking about a very natural growth process and we actually have had more growth than we initially thought we were going to have." Some 15,597 cellular customers switched providers over the first 10 days of the program since it started on December 2, while 3,134 fixed-line customers have changed companies, according to the ministry. Late Wednesday night, Communications Ministry officials led by Director-General Mordechai Mordechai convened to review the progress of the program and to implement a number of changes aimed at improving the procedure. Included among the recommendations is the need to ensure that all customers who switch carriers are able to accept phone calls from all companies immediately upon switching. Over the first 10 days, the ministry said, dozens of customers who switched experienced technical difficulties upon changing companies. Additionally, the ministry said that over the next few weeks, they will be accepting detailed lists from the country's communications companies, reviewing the program's initial progress. The number portability program allows phone customers to take their numbers with them when switching carriers. For cell phone users, the changes take place within three hours of the request, though switching between fixed-line carriers takes longer as technicians are needed to update the infrastructure. The ministry believes that the lack of portability has been one of the main barriers preventing consumers from switching providers.