Telekom, Vodafone & Co.: Hidden fee trap: Taking your cell phone number with you free of charge has a catch
Actually, providers should not incur any fees for taking the cell phone number with you when you change providers. But there are also cost traps that lurk elsewhere. Here’s how to avoid them.
Your own cell phone number is so important that hardly anyone is willing to give it up when changing providers. You don’t have to do that and the legislator has taken precautions that firstly it must be possible to take your number with you and secondly it must not cost you any money if you change providers.
Despite the legal requirements, which seem quite clear at first glance, the fees for porting your number have not yet completely disappeared. This is due to a formulation in the legal text.
Number portability not always free
The Federal Network Agency provides assistance when changing providers. There it says:
- If you want to keep your phone number, ask the new provider to take your phone number with you (porting order).
- This service is free of charge for you, because you may not be charged any fees for porting your number. This applies to landline and mobile phone numbers as well as to private and business customers.
The free number portability when changing providers has been in effect since December 1, 2021. The sticking point, however, is that Section 59 TKG sets the framework for a “change of provider”. This does not result in the right to portability in the event of contract changes where the old and new telephone provider are identical.
Since the network operators also offer their services via numerous sub-brands, it is possible that you change the brand, but not the provider within the meaning of the law. And this is exactly where it can be that there are difficulties with porting your phone number or a portability fee applies.
Avoid hidden fees
What can you do to avoid the fee for phone number portability? The best thing to do when planning a change is to find out whether there is actually a change in provider. You have to find out the so-called service provider, which must be listed in the terms and conditions of the new tariff.
If you want to check in which network your number is currently located, you can do this via netz-abfrage.de. If in doubt, you should explicitly ask about the support of your existing provider, after all, the provider must also break down the upcoming costs in advance. This also applies to possible fees for porting your number.