19 April 2006


The Web
Business Today



Mobile companies say portability’s effects “too early to assess”

Matthew Vella

Malta’s two mobile telephony companies have said it is still too early to assess the impact of number portability, introduced on 1 April to enable subscribers to retain their telephone number when changing network providers.
In the past, a subscriber who changed to an alternative mobile operator, would have to adopt the first two digits for either Vodafone or Go Mobile, while retaining the last six digits.
With the introduction of numbering portability, mobile network subscribers can now subscribe to the other network whilst retaining their entire mobile number.
A spokesperson for Vodafone said the company had “a reasonable number of requests” from Go Mobile subscribers wishing to change to Vodafone since the introduction of number portability. “Vodafone processed these requests in line with the porting process mandated by the MCA in its published guidelines and decision, issued by the MCA last year. It is too early at this stage to assess the impact of number portability.”
A spokesperson for Go Mobile stated it was still too early to actually quantify the effect of the introduction of number portability:
“People were still porting their numbers before April with the difference that their number would change. It is still too early to comment on the effect at this point. We don’t think people have even realised there has been a change. But this is a positive step taken by the MCA, it has benefited the consumer by bringing more choice.”
Changing one’s telephone number can be a major inconvenience for customers who have to inform family and acquaintances of their new number – it means changes in personal stationary, business cards, letterheads, and other costs for businesses.
Number portability is set to change everything by making it simpler for customers to retain their telephone numbers while changing from one company to the other.

mvella@mediatoday.com.mt



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