As of Dec. 1, mobile phone users should be able to keep their old phone numbers when changing service providers, with no limits on the number of times they switch, according to a regulation signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Vedomosti reported Friday.
The final wording of the new rule, which has been expected since Medvedev ordered the end to “mobile slavery” in April last year and was signed off by the prime minister earlier this week, ignored the recommendation of the Communications and Press Ministry, which wanted to limit the number of times a subscriber could switch to once per six months.
Also left unchanged was the December entry into force, which operators had asked to delay until spring of 2014, due to difficulties in facilitating the process.
Under the regulation, if a subscriber wants to keep his existing number while switching to a new provider, he will apply to the new cell phone operator to cancel the previous service agreement.
Operators will have to activate an individual subscriber transferring up to five phone numbers within eight days, while corporate clients will have to wait a maximum of 29 days to complete the procedure. The maximum allowed charge for the switch is up to 100 rubles ($3.09) for each number.
Individual phone users have four days to settle their service bills with previous operators to avoid interruption of service. For corporate clients the grace period is 21 days.
If a debt appears after a subscriber had already switched operators, as may happen due to roaming, he will have 70 days to settle the bill from the moment of being activated by the new provider.