Number porting: Is it low demand if option is unavailable?

Besides the concerns raised by Dr Gil Simon Schneider ("2G network shutdown will be costly for users of basic phones"; Nov 14), there is another practice by telcos which is not favourable to the weaker segment of society.

This is the portability of mobile phone numbers from post-paid to pre-paid plans.

Currently, telcos allow number portability only when there is an "upgrade" of services, such as from pre-paid to post-paid, but not for a "downgrade".

Ms Ann Chan of the then Media Development Authority has said that telcos are not required to implement post-paid to pre-paid porting, as the demand is low and the cost of implementation may be passed on to consumers, leading to higher charges ("Low demand for post-paid to pre-paid number porting"; Forum Online, Oct 7).

However, I wonder if demand really is low, given that consumers are not offered that option at all.

I understand that some administrative costs will be incurred, but most consumers would not mind paying a small fee for such portability.

With uncertain economic conditions and ageing populations, subscribers have to prioritise their spending, including phone use.

The infrastructure to port numbers is already there. Consumers should be offered the option to port numbers from post-paid to pre-paid.

Ong See Fong