For a service provider, portability requests are part of everyday life. And it is in your interest to respond favorably to these requests. Because, beyond customer satisfaction, it is a question of legal compliance. As Alexandre Archambault, a lawyer specializing in digital and telecom law, reminds us: " Portability is a right ", and this, for companies as well as individuals.
In France, since 2010, there is a common platform dedicated to portability requests, managed by the Association of Fixed Number Portability (APNF). A commendable initiative, but not necessarily sufficient. Because " the system proposed by the APNF is complex, very codified and not very modern technically ", warns Romane Cohade, our Head of Customer Success. Always determined to simplify our customers' lives, she explains the difficulties encountered by service operators in this context.
How are B2B portability applications currently proceeding?
First of all, in order to understand the subject, let's look at the current procedure. In concrete terms, how do you go about allowing your business customers to keep their fixed telephone numbers?
As with an individual customer, your aim is then to communicate the request to the former operator, but also to inform all operators, so that the calls are properly routed. The first step is to retrieve the customer's information, such as name, address and, most importantly, the numbers to be ported. "This is where the first difficulty comes in," notes Romane. " Because companies, both large and small, do not necessarily have a list of all the telephone numbers, at least not in a simple way. This is where the first difficulty comes in," says Romane.
Portability with many faces
It should be noted, however, that the complexity of portability is obviously not only due to the APNF platform. Indeed, some requests are inherently more difficult to satisfy than others.
This is, for example, the (frequent) case of numbers that have been ported multiple times, by several successive operators. Such a situation makes it necessary to trace the entire chain back to the assigning operator, which greatly complicates the task. It is therefore quite logical that these portability requests are said to be "complex".
Secondly, several choices can influence the further course of action. For example, a partial portability, on only part of the numbers, will be different from a total portability. Similarly, while requests are often concluded automatically, it is also possible to use a validation on the day by a call, when the customer is ready.
Another important option is reliability, which addresses the first difficulty mentioned above. If the customer does not know all his telephone numbers (or does not know for sure), it is possible to ask the outgoing operator for a list of them, via the APNF. " This is a potentially crucial step," says Romane. " Because if you send a portability request with an incomplete or erroneous list, the outgoing operator may refuse it and you are then blocked!
There are so many different situations and options which obviously have an impact on the completion time and the cost of the procedure.
Portability applications: a difficult path
Even if your client is a good student and quickly gives you a list of his numbers, you are not out of the woods yet. The difficulties have only just begun, at least in the opinion of the people concerned.
How can we tell? " In 2020, we interviewed several service operators to understand how they did things and what difficulties they encountered," explains our Head of Customer Success. This convinced us of the need to simplify the process.
This is of course the first point reported by operators: portability requests are considered " complicated ", " tedious ", but also " opaque ". Indeed, according to the professionals interviewed, requests are regularly rejected, without any specific reason being given.
And this opacity is also reflected in the costs. Operators regret not knowing in advance the price they will have to pay. This vagueness is explained by the fact that when they submit their request, they (and the APNF) do not know how complex portability will be. But without this information, how can they draw up a quote or anticipate their expenses (in the case of a service offered to the customer)?
Finally, the service operators deplore the time needed to satisfy the sometimes urgent portability requests: both the time spent by their teams tearing their hair out and the time imposed by the APNF. There is indeed a legal minimum period of 7 days. But in practice, the operation often takes longer (" two or three weeks on average ", says Romane), for an uncertain result.
Using a portability operator: the ideal solution?
Until now, there have not been many solutions to these difficulties. Either you managed to communicate effectively with the APNF, or you delegated your portability requests. This is indeed possible, via service providers called "portability operators", who are often service operators themselves and who have chosen to develop a system that allows them to interact easily with the APNF. In other words, for an operator, this subcontracting amounts to paying a potential competitor to carry out its requests in its place.
However, this may be accompanied by another disadvantage. This is because any portability operation requires the use of a portability prefix, which is added to the telephone number, to ensure the correct re-routing. But to simplify the task, some service operators choose to use the prefix of their portability operator. " But the day they want to change provider, they are forced to port all their customers' numbers to the new portability operator," warns Romane. A significant barrier to exit for service operators.
Netwo, the revolution in portability through simplicity
Fortunately, there is now a solution that significantly simplifies portability requests, and it is called Netwo! Our platform aims to make life easier for service providers and this also applies to portability issues. A simplification made possible by the automation of part of the process.
In concrete terms, it is an API that you can integrate directly into your tools. " Then, everything is simpler, since there is a single process for all portability requests," explains our Head of Customer Success. A user-friendly process that takes place in two stages:
- You provide your customer's name and address and the list of telephone numbers. We will reply immediately, indicating the type of portability (simple or complex) and the price of the operation.
- Once you have received this quote, you can confirm your order or not, by choosing the date and the options you wish to add.
All you have to do is wait for the operation to be completed, which you can follow in your space!
What if you do not have the full list of numbers to be carried? You can make a reliability request at the first stage. In this case, the estimate will not be drawn up immediately, but will be sent within 7 days, once the outgoing operator has provided the necessary information.
The only condition to benefit from the Netwo service? You must have your own portability prefix. But this requirement is actually in your interest, as it guarantees your independence. But don't worry: we can help you with the APNF. You'll see: it's not that complicated!
Finally, please note that our tool also allows you to manage your outgoing portability requests in a few clicks.