Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Odyssey of Number Portability

In the Greek myths, people went on long strange trips, overcame weird obstacles, fought battles, etc. Changing mobile operators (or attempting to do so over the last almost three months) has been similar to this. It started when my old job, which paid a Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) subscription, gave me a power-of-attorney to take that account private so I could shift it and my number to Tele2, the preferred operator of my new employer. The old subscription would terminate on December 5. It indeed did so, making it impossible to do anything with my SIM card. So I got a temporary O-Karte from LMT to tide me over and gave the power-of-attorney to my new employer. The new company put someone who is well meaning but apparently not a whiz kid on this matter. Meanwhile, I used the O-Karte prepaid, but found that it was impossible to forward calls to my old number to the temporary one. Finally I was told that I had to go and get myself a temporary private LMT subscription with my old number. I did this just before going to the states so I would have a number I could use and be reached on.
I got back around January 21 and some days later went to the nearest Tele2 shop just under my new office. I also needed to get a new charger for my Nokia N 80, the kind with a smaller connector to the phone, so no one else's can be used. I saw a charger on a shelf, but when I asked one of the girls in the shop, she said they had no chargers. So I led her to the shelf and convinced her (to her pleasant surprise) that, yes, they did have chargers in a mobile phone and accessories shop. The lady did not seem like the brightest LED in the display, so it was no surprise when she said the data system wasn't working and the application to transfer couldn't be done.
My trip to Cannes intervened, and finally, Saturday, I went to the main Tele2 place in Riga, dutifully waited for my number to come up, and then got a very kind and helpful employee who filled out the forms, but, alas, got my e-mail address wrong. She did say that I should have gone to the corporate services unit, no numbers, no waiting, but for that I needed a power-of-attorney or some thing from the company, presumably from less-than-whiz kid. So now I actually have Tele2 SIM card that should come to life on February 15 or thereabouts, and I should then be able to go yet again to Tele2 with another document and have the account transferred to the company. Simply and fast, isn't it. All just to keep good old 292XXXXX...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Number portability, local loop unbundling, hundreds of different telecoms and all other EU regulation stuff of course gives customer freedom, BUT from other hand it makes for the same customer really mess. You have to be aware of all telecom environment, all services and possibilities. Otherwise you will loose from this competition. One of the hard stuff, where waste a time is number portability (as described in your article), and the next and costly thing is calling to fixed network telephone, as you do not know in what network this number ‘resides’. Due to completely ‘idiotic’ Latvia numbering plan you can not remember all different area codes allocated to mobile telecom either. So, I am against such competition.