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Lycamobile fails to port numbers: For the first time ever regulatory authority could revoke communications provider authorisation

An end user’s complaint back in September 2014 drew the attention of the telecoms regulatory authority to the fact that Lycamobile Austria purportedly did not allow number transfer (porting) to all mobile service providers. The regulatory authority immediately launched a supervisory procedure, while repeatedly requesting Lycamobile to enable unrestricted number porting. To date Lycamobile has nonetheless failed to meet this obligation.

"All Austrian mobile service providers are required by law to provide unrestricted number porting to every customer on request. Not allowing subscribers to port their numbers represents a barrier to changing providers and impairs competition," Johannes Gungl, CEO of the RTR Telecommunications and Postal Services Division, explained as the background of the situation.

‘Shutdown of services’ as of 1 February 2016

"In the interests of customers we have tried everything to move Lycamobile to act in conformance with the laws. Lycamobile still has time up to and including 31 January 2016 to provide evidence of having enabled number porting. Should they fail to comply, we will enforce end users’ rights for the first time using the strongest instrument we have for such cases: we will revoke Lycamobile’s right to provide communications services. Lycamobile will subsequently be required to discontinue services. Revoking authorisation is tantamount to shutting down services," Gungl stated, explaining the regulatory authority’s decision of 9 December 2015. "Our recommendation to Lycamobile customers is to use up their phone credits by 1 February 2016 and change providers," Gungl stated in summary.

The decision issued by the regulatory authority has been published (in German) on the RTR website at: www.rtr.at/de/tk/R_2_15.