Residents can switch telecom providers while retaining their existing mobile numbers from December 30, it was announced on Thursday. Customers of Etisalat and du are to benefit and the service is expected to boost competition and improve services provided by the operators.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority said a central transfer system will be in place by Sunday, and the two providers, are ready to launch the Mobile Number Portability (MNP).
Etisalat and du have been set the deadline of December 30, 8am, to provide commercial offerings and sales channels for their customers.
‘‘The two licensees have met the TRA’s instructions and announced their readiness with all necessary requirements and technical procedural adjustments,’’ the regulator said in a statement.
With almost two mobiles per person, the UAE currently has a mobile phone penetration rate of 181 per cent, and a smartphone penetration rate of 73.8 per cent. ‘‘There is no doubt that the availability of MNP will enhance competition in the local telecommunications market immediately,’’ the TRA said.
By simply changing providers and keeping their existing numbers, customers can avail better levels of service. ‘‘It is considered an effective service that is intended to promote further competition in mobile communications in the UAE as the mobile phone subscribers will be able to keep their original phone numbers if they wanted,’’ the telecoms regulator said.
Oman was the first GCC country to launch MNP in 2006 followed by Bahrain in 2011. Qatar began the service in February this year.
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