Meteor claims first blood from number portability

17 Sep 2003

Meteor has claimed to be the first winner out of the advent of number portability, claiming a net gain of 3.5 new customers to every single new customer signed by Vodafone and O2.

“This is despite their extensive advertising campaigns,” said Meteor’s corporate affairs director Andrew Kelly.

Number portability, which allows mobile phone users to switch networks and retain their entire number and prefix, came into existence in Ireland on 25 July. All three Irish mobile operators invested jointly in a computer system that would enable mobile users to port to a different network and keep their old numbers and prefixes.

According to Kelly, Meteor has emerged as the only network operator to make a net gain from number portability. Restricted from revealing numbers, Kelly said: “The other two providers are effectively cancelling each other out, they are gaining as much as they are losing. Meteor, however, for every one we lose, we gain at least three and a half more.

“Number portability is absolutely helping us to grow, so we are clearly glad that it finally came about,” Kelly said.

He indicated that the launch of number portability in the summer months means that Meteor can aggressively gear up for the traditionally busy Christmas market that begins in October.

“Our view would be that we pushed for the launch of number portability at a traditionally quiet time of year in anticipation of technical hitches. We haven’t suffered any, but we understand that they have. Our choice was correct.

“Heading towards Christmas, we are expecting porting volumes to increase considerably. It’s not going to be the Mecca for the smaller mobile companies, but number portability has proven to be a good competitive tool that allows people to avail of competition in the market.”

Speaking of the mass marketing campaigns implemented by Vodafone and O2, Kelly said: “Vodafone and O2 threw bags of their customers’ money into big marketing and advertising campaigns, but it hasn’t worked,” he continued. “In effect the big two are both losing to Meteor.”

By John Kennedy