By Andy Sambidge
Telecoms regulator says customers will be able to switch mobile operator and keep existing number
Bahrain's telecommunications regulator on Monday announced that phone users in the country will be able to switch operators while keeping their number from July 17.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that number portability will be available to consumers for mobile phones next month, following a delay caused in part by the political uprisings in the kingdom.
A similar plan for fixed line phone services will be introduced in September, the TRA said in a statement.
Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), Zain Bahrain and VIVA currently compete in the kingdom's telecoms sector.
The announcement comes following the appointment of Systor Intereurope Systems for the implementation and operation of the number portability system.
Ahmed Aldoseri, Bahrain TRA's ICT director, said: "Due to administrative delays, national events, and to provide adequate time for testing the service by licensed operators the launch of number portability has been delayed to July 2011."
He added: "The number portability central system is a key component of the number portability process. TRA intends to implement a system that will enable subscribers to easily and freely port their numbers between licensed operators.
"This is a major milestone for the Kingdom of Bahrain and is expected to greatly stimulate competition in the market."
The number portability central system is being hosted by the Bahrain Internet Exchange, which facilitates ease of access by all operators.
Number portability is also planned in the UAE between rival operators Etisalat and du. However, the system has been pushed back to the third quarter of this year in a bid to address technical issues.
The move, which is meant to boost competition in the saturated UAE market, had already been delayed once to the second quarter.tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
The UAE's TRA could learn something from BAH TRA, considering the DUOPOLY of Telecommunications in the country, and the TRA themselves deciding if the market is saturated enough with the 2 state owned operators!! Why not TRY other telecoms, and let them take the risk? Why deny them the chance of shaving off the DUOPOLY of Etisalat & du, and provide the CUSTOMERS the SERVICE that should be provided??!!
Completely agree. This is a cartel that only serves Etisalat, TRA should foster competition and serve the people. Where is MNP? Stop stalling and get a move on