x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Here's my number, call me any time

Fixed-number portability will allow consumers to choose between landline tariffs offered by Etisalat and du, while keeping their existing number.

Landline users in the UAE will soon be able to switch between telecommunications operators without having to change their numbers, according to the local regulator.

The launch of "fixed-number portability" next year will allow subscribers to choose between tariffs offered by Etisalat and du while keeping their phone numbers.

There will be a similar initiative for mobile subscribers beginning in the third quarter of this year, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) says.

"The first phase is going to be on all mobile numbers, pre-paid and post-paid," said Mohamed al Ghanim, the director general of the TRA.

"In the future, we will upgrade the solution to include fixed-number portability. It's a different phase, it will probably be next year."

At present, Etisalat and du do not compete on landline and broadband services, as each is restricted to offering fixed-line services in certain areas.

But under an infrastructure-sharing deal, the two operators are expected to offer nationwide fixed-line services by the end of this year.

"We had a plan to launch mobile number portability towards the end of quarter one," said Mr al Ghanim. "We have opened a common database between the two operators and right now they are testing it.

"We are expecting that they will finalise the testing during this quarter. And hopefully in the third quarter we will launch this."