The Communications Regulation Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has indicated that it is still determined to liberalise telephone numbers through Mobile Number Portability service and steer telecom carriers to focus on service delivery.
Although the telecommunications sector has not been that competitive in the last few years with Telecom Namibia playing the underdog to MTC, CRAN Chief Executive Ofﬁcer (CEO) Festus Mbandeka is upbeat the concept will nurture competition and fair play.
“It provides the customer with the right to keep his or her number when changing service providers and will support economic growth, encourage participation in the communications sector and ensure fair competition,” he exclusively told The Villager. He also said number portability requirements support and aligns the objectives of the Communications Act in creating a broad range of efﬁcient electronic communications services, promoting technological innovation and the deployment of advanced facilities or services by licensees.
“Section 81(3) of the Communications Act requires that the Numbering Plan must provide for mobile number portability by all technology and service neutral licensees. Section 81(4) expands here on by authorising CRAN to impose additional requirements in the Numbering Plan relating to number portability, meaning ﬁxed and mobile number portability,” he said.
In furtherance of these obligations and objectives, CRAN developed additional regulations to be included in the Numbering Plan to provide for ﬁxed and mobile number portability, said the CRAN boss.
Queried on how expensive the process will be, Mbandeka said while the concept already has been implemented worldwide it will be something the licensees and their respective equipment and billing providers should be able to handle with ease.
“Costs will depend on the readiness and current status of each licence holder’s network and billing systems. CRAN with all the licensees that hold number ranges has created a project steering group that will oversee the implementation of the number portability project. Licensees that hold number ranges and that are part of the number portability steering group are Telecom Namibia, MTC, Paratus, MTN, and Demshi,” he told The Villager.
This year has seen TN Mobile on the over drive to get people to switch to their preﬁx number, yet with number portability set to disrupt the telecoms sector, TN Mobile’s campaign has been put to question.