Today, the majority of residential telephone service users in Hong Kong can enjoy fixed telephone services from a choice of two or more fixed telecommunications network operators. The multi-operator environment has stimulated competition in prices and service quality, bringing tremendous benefits to consumers. Other than prices and product/service quality, before committing to a new fixed-line service contract, a smart consumer should note the following points:

1. Fixed-term Contract

Before entering into a fixed-term contract, you are strongly advised to read the terms and conditions carefully such as those in relation to contract period and early termination of contract. Please refer to Points to Note before Service Subscription.

2. Termination Notice to the Existing Operator

If you are to switch from one operator to another, you should check with your incumbent operator the advance notice requirements. Different operators set different notice requirements in their contracts. Without sufficient notice on termination, you may be charged further. Please refer to Points to Note for Expiry of Contract with a Fixed term and Service Termination.

3. Notification of Service Disconnection (NSD) Form

In addition, to keep the telephone number that you are using, you will be required to complete and sign a Notification of Service Disconnection (NSD) form. Please read the terms and conditions in the form carefully before you authorise the new operator to proceed with your request for porting out the number you are using. In the form, customer's name, identity card number and business registration number (if applicable) are important information. Your request for porting out the number may be rejected if there are mismatches between the information you provide in the NSD form and that you registered with your existing operator.

To facilitate the number porting process, you are advised to keep a copy of the current service contract and the most recent bill for easy reference to ensure that the information that you provide in the NSD form matches with the existing operator's information. If you are not sure of the accuracy of your registered information, please approach your existing operator to check or update the information before switching to another operator.

4. Network Coverage

If you are moving to a new address soon, you should confirm whether your new address will be covered by your existing operator. If your new address is not covered by the operator's network, you will not be able to use its service. If you decide to terminate the existing service contract after moving to the new address, and if it is a fixed-term contract, termination charges may be invoked.

5. Possible Delay in Providing Service

Please confirm in writing the exact date on which the new operator will start to provide you with the service. Delay in service provision may occur due to technical hiccups or coordination problems between the incumbent and the new operators. You should clarify your rights under these circumstances, such as -- can you request for termination of the new contract without penalties? Will the new operator provide you with a mobile phone or pay for your mobile phone bills during the no-service period? Any arrangement for claiming for compensation? If you need to resume the service provided by the incumbent operator, you may have to pay installation charge if its service is already cut. Better have the salesperson's promises put down in writing to avoid any disputes.

6. New Wiring at Your Premises

New wiring, re-wiring or the use of unconcealed wiring may have to be arranged at your premises/home. Ask if any of this is necessary and when the arrangement will be confirmed. Consider whether you will accept the arrangement. If you decide later that the arrangement is not acceptable, ask whether you will be liable to any penalties for cancelling the subscription.

7. Availability of Value-added Services

The value-added services that you are enjoying with your incumbent operator, such as different ringing tones for different numbers, rejecting blacklisted or unwelcome numbers, may not be offered by the new operator. Please check for the details with the relevant salesperson before subscription.

Remember that you always have the choice of not subscribing a service if you find the offer not satisfactory.

Once a contract is signed, it is binding on both parties.

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