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Wed 22 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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TRA moves on mobiles

Mobile phone users in the UAE will be able to move their mobile number across networks by the middle of next year, according to the head of the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Mobile phone users in the UAE will be able to move their mobile number across networks by the middle of next year, according to the head of the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Such a move could prompt a reduction in call charges, as networks fight to stop their customers swapping networks. Director General of the TRA Mohamed Al Ghanim says that once the mobile number portability (MNP) process has been established it will be implemented.

"We are finalising a major item on number portability, and once we finish it we will contract a company that will put the solution in place," he says. "It will take probably five or six months, so probably by the middle to third quarter of next year we will have received it in the UAE," Al Ghanim adds.

The introduction of MNP often occurs before an additional operator enters an already saturated market, in order to make it easier for the new entrant to attract customers who already have a mobile number to their network.

But Al Ghanim says the UAE telecoms market must be studied further before another operator is allowed to launch operations.

"We cannot just dump operators over an operator," says.

"We have to [create] value for the market and we have to ensure that operators can sustain their business. But before that we cannot just say it is time for a third operator."

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