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What is Number Portability?

What is Number Portability?

What is Number Portability?

‘‘Number portability is a key facilitator of consumer choice and effective competition in a competitive telecommunications environment’’ - EU universal service directive.

The introduction of Number Portability reallocates the property rights in mobile telephone numbers from operators to consumers establishing the enhancement of competition in mobile telecommunications.

Traditionally, consumers of telecom services were required to give up their phone numbers when switching providers.

What is Number Portability?

With number portability now deployed in over 73 countries across various telecommunications regulatory frameworks, number portability is essentially the ability for users of telecommunications services to:

  1. Retain the same contact telephone number when switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.
  2. Retain the same location to an existing number without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecoms network carrier to another.
  3. Change service from one network operator to another whilst retaining the same number.


Types of Number Portability for Business Operators.

Number portability is important for telecommunications in business operations because it removes a bar to switching that keeps which keeps equity in the number which can serve in certain marketing aspects such as an identification number.

The various types of number portability for businesses and operators which deliver:

1. Local Number Portability: The subscriber retains their number when changing from one telecoms service provider to another, for example, porting an existing business directory of fixed numbers (local numbers) between telecommunications operators.

2. Mobile Number Portability: When a consumer moves to another mobile operator, the new network operator would allow the individual to formally use their SIM card without modification to its original telephone number, therefore having 'ported' the number.

3. Non-geographic Number Portability: Porting of ‘service’ numbers, for example, toll-free numbers.

4. Service Portability: The customer retains its number when changing service type, for example, from PSTN to ISDN, mobile to fixed, fixed to mobile, all while retaining the same telephone number.

5. Location portability: The customer changes the location and keeps the same directory number.

The reduction in barriers to switching is of particular benefit to challenge carrier competition. This redefines competition for business consumers as they now have the potential to expand their telecommunications advantages, particularly for premium subscribers.

Increased benefits for business operators.

Quite often service providers do not provide satisfactory services in telecommunications network coverage and customer support and in order not to lose customers, service providers are forced to put up their best front.

Number portability provides quality assurance and also promotes benefits such as tariff reductions, promotions, and special features as competition becomes more rigid.

There are multiple reasons why you may want to switch from one mobile phone network provider to another mobile phone network provider whilst retaining all emergency and safety services.

If you do not know which telecom operator's network a number uses, information is available here at the 'common reference database center for number portability'.

Jan 20, 2021

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