I'm usually not very positive when it comes to mobile networks in France but today I have a positive story!
Like many other countries, France now has a fourth mobile network operator and competition has significantly increased. It has increased so much that a friend of mine decided to switch operators. We tried to get a better deal before switching but they were pretty much inflexible. It's this way or the highway was the message. O.k., so we took the highway and here's the story of how that went:
The only issue with switching operators in this case was that it was crucial to take the mobile number to the new network operator. There is Mobile Number Portability in France for some time now how but how long would it take to port the number and how long would the service interruption time be? We had no idea, 10 days to port the number was quoted in some forums but not much other information was available. But the pricing pressure was higher than the fear of service interruption and temporary numbers so we risked the step.
The new operator only sells prepaid and postpaid SIMs online which was much better for us anyway than going to a shop somewhere. The order process was swift and already included the necessary steps to get the mobile number ported. During the online order process the system requests that a call is made to an automated system to get a porting identifier that then has to be given to the new network operator. That's all I thought, no forms to be filled out and mailed, no hassle, no nothing!? Well, that's almost too simple!? However, that was really all.
The SIM card arrived a couple of days later and after activating the SIM card, again via the web portal, by typing in the last three digits of the card-id, it was activated within 2 hours with a temporary number. During each step of the process an email arrived to confirm that the step was successful and with information about next steps and approximate durations. At this point the web site and the email confirmed the successful activation after about two hours and that the number portability process was now in its final stage. Three days maximum were promised for the number to be transferred. This was around 11 pm in the evening.
At around 7.20 am the next morning we received another email that the number is now ported. Wow, 8 hours later, very nice! The phone had to be restarted once as described in the email and then it just worked, the old number was on the new SIM card.
I have to say, I AM REALLY IMPRESSED!!! The process worked flawlessly, the information provided was clear, precise and accurate and everything worked very quickly. I have a lively imagination based on previous bad experience, so after having been prepared for the worst, i.e. the number lost somewhere during the process, endless calls to hotlines of both network operators and two contracts running side by side for a couple of months you can't believe the joy I felt.
Very well done, finally something I am impressed about the French mobile landscape!