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Ministry irons out portability program wrinkles
MATTHEW KRIEGER
12/20/2007
The number portability program allows phone customers to take their numbers with them when switching carriers.
As the number portability program approaches its fourth week, the Communications Ministry on Wednesday removed one of the main roadblocks hampering the program's efficiency, allowing customers to now switch between companies without having to first receive an authorization from the company they are leaving. According to the ministry, customers now will only have to bring their cell phone and a copy of their latest bill, whereas over the first few weeks of the program, customers needed to also present an authorization identifying the customer and stating that the old company was aware of the switch. The authorization requirement has slowed down the process for dozens of customers. "This has harmed the portability program on the whole and has caused damage to numerous customers," a ministry statement said. As of Wednesday, some 16,000 cellular customers had switched providers since the program started on December 2, while approximately 4,000 fixed-line customers have changed companies, a Communications Ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. The ministry said last week that over the next month, it will accept 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 had been one of the main barriers preventing consumers from switching providers.
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