- How do I know what alternative providers and services are available?
- Why would I consider changing?
- What do I need to do before I switch?
- How do I switch service provider?
- Will my service be interrupted?
- What happens if I change my mind?
- What questions should I ask any alternative provider before changing?
- How long will it take before I am connected?
- What about my other telephone services?
- Should I cancel or terminate my telephone service with my existing service provider?
How do I know what alternative providers and services are available?
The number of telecoms service providers offering landline, mobile and broadband services has increased over the last number of years, giving consumers greater choice when considering their telecoms needs. ComReg’s independent price comparison website www.callcosts.ie provides details of the current personal telecommunications packages on the market, which, depending on the scale of your business, may be appropriate to your needs. For information on specific business offerings you should start by checking out websites of the various service providers - links to all the websites are available on callcosts.
Why would I consider changing?
When comparing the different prices, prices and terms and conditions of various products and services, you may source a package that matches your needs. You may choose different providers for each service your business requires or you may be able to choose a single alternative service provider to provide all the services you require, for example some providers offer packages which include mobile and landline services. Combined service packages are known as bundles.
What do I need to do before I switch?
You will need to consider the various platforms/technologies that are available and that you wish to use. More information is available in the Telecoms Products section.
You need to consider your personal and your business needs. You will need to decide if you want to have separate services and contracts for each. Some providers have different terms and conditions for business and residential services. You will need to be aware of the implications, such as your consumer rights, of bundling your residential services into a business contract.
You should ensure that you are aware of the costs for all the services you want to use, such as call waiting and call answering, directory enquiries, calls to 1890 and 1850 numbers etc.
If you are considering changing your telephone service provider during the process you may be asked for the the following consumer references, Universal Account Number(s) (UAN(s)), Eircom Account Number (EAN (s)), Circuit Reference Numbers (CRN(s)) or your account number.
Consumer references mean, any number, letter, code or reference pertaining to a consumer, which is necessary for the purposes of the consumer efficiently changing services or efficiently switching from one telephone service provider to another supplying such services. In general terms some telephone service providers do not own their own telecoms infrastructure to provide services, they rent the infrastructure (wires, telephone poles etc) from Eircom and then provide you with a retail telephone service. When a telephone service provider rents infrastructure/services from Eircom, Eircom provides a Universal Account Number (UAN) to your service provider (i.e. the account number for the service that Eircom provides to your retail service provider). Your service provider puts the UAN on the bill along with its account number. Without the UAN, the new retail service provider cannot get access to the infrastructure. Therefore, the new retail service provider would not be able to provide service.
Some telephone service providers in Ireland have their own telecoms infrastructure completely separate from Eircom’s (they do not need to rent their infrastructure from Eircom) for e.g. UPC. They may provide television, telephone and broadband services through their own infrastructure. Service providers of this nature will provide you with an account number.
Service providers are required to display all consumer reference numbers applicable to your account on your telephone bill by 1 October 2010.
You should review your contract(s) with your current service provider to ascertain the conditions for termination. In particular, you need to be aware of your minimum contract period, notice of termination and termination charges and the policy with respect to the return of equipment.
How do I switch service provider?
When you have compared the products and selected a provider, you will need to consider the conditions for termination of your current contract in order to minimise termination penalties.
You can make contact with your new provider to give your consent to switch and the new provider will organise the transfer of services for your business.
You will need to enter into a new agreement for service with your new provider, which involves either signing a consent form, or confirming your consent over the phone, via Third Party Verification (TPV) or Voice Contract.
In the majority of circumstances the subscriber that wishes to change their service provider will not need to take any action in advance of the switch, other than contacting the retail service provider that they wish to use to provide them with service. However, the subscriber should be aware of the terms and conditions of their current retail contract, and in particular any possible early termination fees. For example the subscriber may have agreed a 12 month contract with their current retail service provider. If the subscriber terminates the contact after 10 months, their current service provider may have an early termination fee.
Should I cancel or terminate my telephone service with my existing service provider?
When a subscriber is switching their phone service between a telephone network operator and a cable network operator that offers phone services or vice versa, and you wish to continue using your existing telephone number. Then you should not terminate or cancel your telephone service with your current retail service provider before consulting with your new retail service provider.
Will my telephone service be interrupt because I am changing my telephone service provider and transferring my telephone number?
To switch telephone service between providers (either with or without moving your telephone number) requires some technical tasks to be carried out. As a result, there is likely to be short interruption of service, the duration of the service interruption will depend on specific circumstances (e.g. a subscriber that is moving two hundred telephone lines to another service provider will be more complicated than a subscriber that is moving two telephone lines, therefore the potential for service outage increased depending complexity of the move). The subscriber will need to make arrangements with their new service provider to minimize the impact of any service outage.
Will my service be interrupted?
The switch over to the new service provider should be seamless for single services and for bundles.
For broadband and voice transfers, a new facility has been put in place to ensure that both services can be transferred simultaneously without intervention by the customer or interruption to service.
What happens if I change my mind?
If you have entered into a contract with a new service provider, you may have a minimum cooling off period (your rights in this respect depend on the nature of the contract and the method of sale). You should ask your new provider, when signing up about your rights with respect to a cooling off period and, if applicable, how to cancel the contract within this period.
If you are entitled to a cooling off period and you change your mind within the period but after the switch, you are liable for any telephone call charges incurred in the interim.
What questions should I ask any alternative provider before changing?
- Ask for the customer Code of Practice/Guarantee Scheme
- Ask for the standard Terms and Conditions of contract
- Ask if your new service requires additional equipment and is there a cost associated
- Ask if there is a minimum contract period and if so what are the early cancellation penalties
- Ask how long will it take before the changeover
- Ask whether there are any additional charges, such as connection fees
- Ask about any special discounts
How long will it take before I am connected?
If you are switching mobile service provider it will take up to 1 day. If you are switching your fixed line service provider it normally takes approximately 10 days from the date you signed-up. You should ask your new service provider about its related commitments in its code of practice and customer guarantee scheme.
What about my other telephone services?
Ancillary services, such as call waiting, call answering etc. will remain in place. Your internet settings and broadband services should not be affected if you select a new service provider for line rental and calls. Your new service provider will provide you with further details.