x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Numbers game where everybody wins

The ability to change mobile-phone numbers between service providers will ensure healthy competition.

The mobile phone is an indispensable part of our lives. It’s almost impossible to function without one, because many government and commercial services rely on being able to text you. In the retail environment, mobile apps such as Google Wallet may soon transform the way we pay for goods.

Some people shop around for a memorable phone number, because they know that they will be stuck with it for a long time, possibly for life.

In the UAE, it also locks you into one of the two service providers. If you bought your first SIM card from Etisalat or du, then that’s the company you’re going to have to deal with forever – unless you want to go through the protracted hassle of changing your number and notifying all your friends, relatives and every company you’ve ever dealt with.

Now, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has instructed du and Etisalat to make their numbers portable within two months. That means a number purchased with one provider can be moved to another network. As always, competition is good news. It will keep both companies on their toes, ensuring low prices, innovation and better service, and will free up customers to pursue the best deal for their own needs.