RA: Phone number portability by next March
The Regulatory Authority has declared that in order to promote competition, all mobile operators must cooperate to implement mobile number portability by March 3, 2014.
In other words each operator shall be able both to export and to import mobile numbers, the RA said.
RA chief executive Philip Micallef explained yesterday that number portability is nothing more than allowing a customer to change a telecom provider and keep the same old number they had (maybe for many years) with their previous provider.
He added: “In order to make things simple: if I am a customer of mobile carrier A and my number is say 1234567 and I want to switch and become a customer of carrier B and no longer remain of carrier A, with number portability I can become a customer of carrier B and keep my ‘old' number 1234567 even though I am now a customer of carrier A.”
The RA stated that mobile operators shall complete their preparations and be ready for “inter-operator” testing by February 3, 2014. The RA further said on the issue of fixed number portability, the RA said BTC shall implement the capability to export numbers within four months of receiving a written request from another operator copied to RAB, but not before March 3, 2014.
The RA said: “BTC shall implement the capability to export numbers within two months of receiving any subsequent written requests.
“Any operator who requests portability from BTC shall offer portability itself to any other operator and shall commence such porting within two months of receiving a written request from the other operator copied to RAB.
“The fixed operators concerned shall complete their preparations and be ready for inter-operator testing by one month before the start date.”
For other operators, any operator may request number portability in writing from BTC and from other operators who have requested portability but shall offer portability to any other operator if they make such a request.
The RA said that except for the two mobile operators, no operator is required to offer to import a number, but if it does offer to import a number is free to offer to import only those numbers that are in a number block allocated to itself (ie import back its own numbers) and not to import other numbers.