Fear of losing home number puts people off switching

Monday, 6 November, 2017

A recent survey shows half of all broadband users don’t want to change provider because of concerns about losing their home phone number.

It shouldn’t be difficult to keep your home phone number when switching broadband.

But research by ISPReview.co.uk reveals over 30% of the 1,100 people surveyed had lost their phone number when going through the switching process.

As more people now use their mobiles as their primary phone numbers, or even use VoIP services like Skype for their home calls, the value of the home phone number is certainly going down.

But according to Ofcom, service providers are obliged to let customers keep their phone numbers when they switch, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the National Telephone Numbering Plan of area codes.

This means that customers moving house may have no choice but to change their number, but customers that are simply switching ISP shouldn’t have this problem at all.

Why are people still losing their numbers?

Although Ofcom’s rules force ISPs to offer a number portability service, the systems seem to be prone to quite a few problems. ISPreview.co.uk reports complaints about switches between BT and TalkTalk centered around TalkTalk refusing to release numbers until they’ve received a letter from BT requesting the switch, while BT claim it isn’t necessary to do so.

It seems that, in the bureaucracy and poor communication between companies, ISPs have the space to say, “Not my problem”, and leave their customers in the dust without their phone number.

A weighty 59.3 percent of the survey’s respondents think that Ofcom isn’t doing enough to improve the situation. If a customer is changing their ISP, and they’re not moving house or switching network, there is no reason that they shouldn’t be able to keep their phone number.

What can I do?

If fears over your number are keeping you from switching to a better deal from a different ISP, you will want to check out our FAQ posts for the latest advice.


Frequently asked questions

Samuel Newman author picture

By:

Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.

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