x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Thousands make the switch between Etisalat and du, says TRA

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said, of the 61,000 requests, 23,000 people have already completed the cell phone number switch.

DUBAI // About 61,000 requests have been received to transfer mobile phone numbers between operators since the option was introduced in December last year.

The mobile number portability (MNP) service allows users to switch between du and Etisalat while keeping the same phone number, a process known as “porting”.

More than 23,000 numbers have already been transferred, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said on Thursday.

“The significant number of porting requests received reflects the real interest of UAE consumers in the MNP service,” said Mohamed Al Ghanim, the director general of TRA.

“The launch of the mobile number portability service falls in line with the wider TRA strategy aimed at promoting strong competition between the country’s two mobile-services providers.

“This move will enhance the quality of services offered to consumers and, in turn, drive levels of performance upwards.”

Some requests have had to be resubmitted because further documentation was needed.

A small number of complaints had been received about transfer delays. The TRA attributed this to teething problems with the new service.

The authority said it would continue to monitor licensee performance and advise the companies on methods to complete the transition as quickly as possible.

“The TRA is responsible for monitoring the service mechanisms, ensuring all the necessary documents and information is submitted to complete the transition and, ultimately, ensuring the switchover process runs as smoothly as possible,” Mr Al Ghanim said.

Subscribers should fulfil obligations in their contracts, including payment of all fees, before submitting requests.

Customers who signed contracts for a specific time period should remember that a termination fee will be payable if they prematurely end the contract, the TRA statement said.

Subscribers have the right to return to the original telecom operator during the first three days of the number transfer. After this time, they can still return to their original operator but only after being with their new network for one month.

The TRA said it launched the service after receiving assurances from du and Etisalat that the requirements and technical procedural adjustments had been met.

The mobile portability service is part of the UAE telecommunication sector’s aim to encourage competition and provide an advanced infrastructure.

The UAE was the last country in the GCC to offer mobile number portability. It had been on the TRA’s agenda for more than three years but was delayed because of a series of technical difficulties.