UAE mobile phone users will be able to change their service provider without having to lose their phone number with the launch of a new service expected by the end of March.
Switch phone company but keep number - soon in the UAE
Want to change mobile phone company without losing your number? According to the head of the UAE telecoms regulator consumers in the Emirates should be able to do this by the end of March.
Mohamed al Ghanim, the director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, said that "mobile number portability" (MNP) will be ready for consumers to use by the end of first quarter of 2011.
MNP lets customers change mobile operators without paying for a new phone number. The service is widely used in North America and Europe.
"It will stimulate competition between the two operators. Every operator will try to hold onto their customers," Mr al Ghanim said on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Innovation Forum this morning.
Mr al Ghanim had said previously that MNP would be available in the UAE by the end of last year. He did not disclose why the service has been delayed.
"Both operators will declare readiness by the end of the month and we will test it as the TRA within next week," said Mr al Ghanim.
"Then, we will see if the operators will be ready or not ... It doesn't mean that it is ready until we say that is ready. "
Last February, multiple sources told The National that several technical issues between the TRA and the UAE's telecoms operators Etisalat and du pushed the service's rollout from an expected launch of the first quarter of last year.