Porting in mobile network terms is the moving of ones existing mobile number from one company to another. Here’s my experience of doing exactly that when I recently moved from Three Ireland to Meteor.

I’ve been with Three Ireland for the past year but while I’m very happy with their services and price (I get unlimited data which I can tether with, 3000mins Three to Three calls, Free unlimited calls any time of day to landlines 350 flex units where 1 unit = 1minute of call time or 2 sms messages all for 30euro per month) I’m always looking for a bargain. So when Meteor launched their bill pay light online only discounted plan I decided to go with it. I would be getting 200mins, 200sms, free meteor to meteor calls and texts and 1GB of data for 15.25euro per month. I use a BlackBerry so would have to add that service on for another 4.99euro but it comes with another 2GB’s of data giving me a total of 3GB’s of data for 20.24 per month.

Three in the end gave me 2 months free so I decided to port mid the second free month as I had credit on the account, but in general I’d recommend checking to see If you need to give 30days notice before you leave so you don’t get charged twice (by two different networks) for the same month.  A quick call to your network will confirm this.

I applied online for Meteor who then sent out a sim pack for me with a new meteor number. This was a little hassle some as I had to sign for the package so I had to get the sim card redirected  to my work place as I would not be at home during the day. Once I received it I called up Meteor and asked to port my number which took about 2 hours. The Three sim died and the Meteor sim was active with my old number. Have to say up until now, just like when I moved to Three from O2, everything went smoothly. But I’ve heard and found myself that it’s the first bill and the last bill from the new and old network respectively that causes the issues.

I’ll note now that I have not received my last bill from Three but I’ll update this post with that info once I’ve received it. Hopefully their will be no problems there.

I joined Meteor on the 29th of March and my bill begins the 10th of the month. So as with many cases I’d be paying for a part month and a month in advance (pro rata). The bill arrived on the 11th of April and there was a discrepancy. I got my 50% discount on my April portion (10th of April to the 9th of May) but I received no discount on the portion of the month I’d used (29th March to 9th of April). I contacted Meteor by their twitter feed to sort this out. Initially they said the discount is 15 euro off per bill and that as I’d received only 1 bill I was only entitled to a single discount. I pointed out that if this was the case and Meteor “accidently” didn’t bill me for 6 months, eventually when the bill did arrive would I only get 15euro off? I also linked to the plans T&C’s which state “Customer will be entitled to receive a monthly discount of 50% off their Meteor Bill Pay Lite 30 bill”. They did cave eventually saying that this should have been explained to me but they would issue the discount for the part bill (I’ll let you know when I get this and if I’ve any more hassle).

As ports go this was fairly painless but I do get the feeling from speaking to friends, family and colleagues that the networks can end up profiting from these moves. Why? Well your old network can bill you for time they are not on the network, the new network can avoid applying a discount (as experienced by me) to a part month or can even bill for a full month. Most people seem to pay their bills without much checking, or maybe just don’t want the hassle of chasing up these over charges. Either way the networks are the ones to profit. Make sure that you monitor your first few bills from your new network closely to ensure you’re getting charged properly and you’re getting on the correct allowances with your new plan (free addon etc…).

I would advise getting copies of your last few bills before you leave a network as they invariably shut down your on line account once you’ve ported so you end up with no access to old details. Once you’ve paid your last bill to your old network make sure you cancel and direct debits for them with your bank so no more charges can go through. And keep an eye on your bank account. Your old network should post out your last bill 14 days in advance of taking payment for it but I’ve both heard and experienced monies being taken from customers without them receiving the final paper bill. You have plenty of rights under the direct debit scheme so use them if needed.

So how have your own ports gone? Have you had any trouble with your new or old network? Let us know in the comments section below.

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