Yesterday morning I went to the East Gardens, to change my mobile phone provider from the ill-fated Dingo Blue to Vodafone (to those readers from the states, yes, I am talking about the cell phones here). The sales guy in the shop seems to be quite surprised when I walked in asking to subscribe to their service straight away - they have not yet tried to sell me anything! Well, usually I do my research before shopping, but I will go and buy it quite determinedly. And I have been thinking of changing phone providers for quite sometimes already, but just my procrastinating self has not made the move until now.
Since September 2001, Australia has introduced the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) which allows a mobile phone user to carry his/her number while changing phone providers. We all know how frustrating when we go and get a new phone number - we basically have to broadcast to everyone we know. And for many years phone companies used this to keep their customers - they know how much that number mean to them, and they will not change providers even if a better deal is available. Not any more now, and it surely makes the carriers more competitive.
To get MNP to work, basically the carrier has to broadcast the message to all other providers, so that the 'routing' information can be known to everyone. Usually it is pretty quick - the sales told me that it will only take 3 to 4 hours. And it did in my case - I am now on the Vodafone network with my 0403 number, which looks like an Optus number. However there is some glitch. Apparently the Telstra's routing network was down during the weekend, so people calling from Telstra will not be able to reach me until Monday when they fix up their network. Wasn't anything out of expectation from Telstra, was it? :)