Seeking transparent mobile number porting stats
Frustrated by the lack of transparency on mobile number portability among South Africa’s network providers, Shaun Dewberry launched iported.co.za, an online survey to independently gather statistics on how many people have ported between different providers.
The home page of the website reads: “We’re tired of being bullied by telecoms companies. We’re tired of the fabricated subscriber numbers they publish. We’re tired of the way they blatantly hide information from us, the very people who pay their salaries.”
Dewberry explained that a large part of his motivation sprung from the Telkom situation and his support for the Telecoms Action Group. He was upset by the cell phone company’s failure to release the figures for number porting earlier this year.
“They are deliberately trying to hide the figures, creating fear, uncertainty and doubt,” said Dewberry. Although the companies are beginning to compete on broadband, there is otherwise no competition.
Dewberry was further motivated by his participation on Twitter, the sms-based micro blogging site, where he discovered that American users were able to obtain large sms bundles and were not being charged for these.
With enough people participating in the survey, Dewberry hopes that it places pressure on the network providers to release their figures. This may entail approaching whichever provider comes out worst in the survey and challenging them to provide their own figures in an attempt to prove the iPorted figures wrong.
At the time of writing, only 21 people had responded, with six having ported. Of those six, three had been on Vodacom, two on MTN and one on Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile was the clear winner, with three people porting to them, MTN broke even with two people porting to it, while Vodacom only received one new customer. In both sections Cell C did not feature.
The majority found the service to be either “great” or “hassle-free”, with only one experience described as “painful”. Half the respondents who ported took less than a day to switch providers, two took less than a week and one unlucky respondent took more than a month to port.
Obviously, with such a small number of respondents so far, these figures cannot be seen to be representative of porting within the country. With enough public support, however, the survey should provide a realistic reflection of how number portability has affected subscriptions.
To view the results directly, go here.