Australia

Telstra fined $1.5m for not letting customers keep their phone numbers when switching providers

Telstra was fined $ 1.5 million for not doing this for its customers during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Telstra was fined $ 1.5 million for preventing customers from holding their phone number when switching to another network.

The telecommunications giant stopped helping customers port numbers in March 2020 during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and did not start doing so again until July of that year.

At that time, customers who wanted to transfer the number but could not transfer it formed a backlog that was not cleared until October 2020.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said in a statement Tuesday that the demands of more than 42,000 customers were affected.

“Australian consumers need to have the freedom to change their telephone companies so that they have access to the services that best suit their needs,” said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“This includes keeping your phone number even if you move your business to another location.”

ACMA stated that Telstra’s actions violated the 1997 Telecommunications Act.

Telstra said it agreed that it was important for customers to retain their phone numbers when switching providers.

“This problem occurred during the height of COVID’s first global wave, a time when we tested the resilience and crisis management of everyone,” said a spokeswoman for the company.

“Given the number of employees and services affected by the pandemic, we couldn’t guarantee that the numbers would be ported correctly and decided to suspend until we were certain that we wouldn’t leave people without the services.

“We did this in a way that Telstra did not have an edge over our competitors. We worked hard to get all porting services back on track as soon as possible.

“Since then, we have made various changes to continue to meet our regulatory obligation to provide number porting services.”

The ACMA said it took into account the difficult situations presented by the pandemic in determining the size of the penalty.

He also gave Telstra formal instructions to comply with the number portability industry code, stating that failure could result in a $ 250,000 court fine for each breach.

Place of originTelstra fined $1.5m for not letting customers keep their phone numbers when switching providers

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