UAE mobile number portability delayed

Reuters , Tuesday 19 Apr 2011

Number portability in Emirates aims to boost competition in a market with penetration levels over 100 per cent

Plans to introduce number portability in the United Arab Emirates, a move aimed at boosting competition in a saturated market, has been delayed to the second quarter to fix a technical glitch, the regulator said on Tuesday.

The plan means customers of telecom providers Etisalat and du will be able to keep their old telephone number if they switch providers.

'Hopefully, anytime in the second quarter we will launch it,' said Mohamed Al-Ghanim, director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.   

'We were planning to launch number portability by the end of the first quarter, but we have released two batches (of numbers)...to the operators for further testing.   

'We are waiting confirmation from the operators. This is a technical glitch. We are expecting this fix will be the last fix.'    

Du ended Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, although both firms are part owned by various government-related entities and critics say real competition between the two is limited. The UAE mobile telecoms market is saturated, with penetration levels over 100 per cent.

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