61,000 UAE mobile phone users ask to switch operator

UAE's telecoms regulator reveals 'overwhelming response' to mobile number portability service
61,000 UAE mobile phone users ask to switch operator
(Image for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 21 Feb 2014 02:43 AM

More than 60,000 mobile phone users have requested to move their business between the UAE's two telcos since the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) service in December.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) reported that 61,000 mobile number porting requests were received by licensees Etisalat and du.

The telecoms regulator said in a statement that the "overwhelming response received to date reflects the strong interest by subscribers in the service".

The service allows the user to switch from one provider to another while keeping their original phone number.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA, said: "This move will enhance the quality of services offered to consumers and in turn, drive levels of performance upwards.

"The significant number of porting requests received reflects the real interest of UAE consumers in the MNP service. The TRA is responsible for monitoring the service mechanisms, ensuring all the necessary documents and information is submitted to complete the transition and ultimately, ensuring the switchover process runs as smoothly as possible," he added.

To date, more than 23,000 mobile numbers were ported out of the total requests, while many requests were resubmitted in order to obtain the required documents for the switchover, the statement said.

The TRA said that it has received a "small number of complaints" about the delay in number porting from some subscribers, adding that all complaints received were resolved through close cooperation with the licensees and the concerned customers.

"The TRA will continue to monitor licensee performance in and advise them on methods to complete the transition as quickly as possible," the TRA said.

A survey last month revealed that approximately one in 10 mobile users in the UAE have swapped operator following the launch of mobile number portability.

AMRB, a regional research & consulting firm based in Dubai, announced the figure in a report measuring reaction to MNP which came into effect in UAE on December 30.

The poll of about 500 mobile users in the UAE revealed that 10 percent had already changed their operator while another 23 percent expressed "high likelihood" of doing so in the near future.

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