More benefits are coming to mobile telephone customers in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) has announced that starting Monday, 3 June 2019, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will be launched in all 5 ECTEL Member States.
Mobile Number Portability enables consumers to keep their current mobile telephone numbers when switching from one mobile telephone operator to another. This service removes the inconvenience of phone users having to inform their contacts, family and friends of a new number after changing their mobile service provider.
The formal announcement was made on 23 May at the 39th ECTEL Council of Ministers meeting at the Harbor Club in St Lucia.
ECTEL Council member and Grenada’s Minister of Infrastructure Development, Public Utilities, Energy, Transport and Implementation, Honourable Gregory Bowen said mobile customers in the Spice Isle have been expecting Mobile Number Portability for quite a while.
“In the case of Grenada, consumers will be able to switch between providers for better service and better pricing. And I know that not only the providers will be put on notice. They are acutely aware that because of the soft launches that have been done before while we were testing, we have seen the migrations of people to each other. They (consumers) have come to the ministry to ask what is going on, because we want to move,” Honourable Bowen said.
The MNP project began in 2015 with a decision by the ECTEL Council of Ministers to implement local number portability for both fixed and mobile phones. The introduction of MNP means that consumers can now switch their attention to other telecommunications issues, such as service quality, service offerings and price.
Honourable Bowen said MNP will be beneficial to customers and will open up opportunities for the providers as well.
“We must be able now to measure the quality of service because I believe that persons coming for a new phone would look at what is the NTRC, what is ECTEL saying about this particular quality of service. So there is an opportunity for the provider to take the new customers, and at the same time, if they do not provide the quality of service, then you will see a shift across the board. So I think across the ECTEL states the expectation is more or less the same,” he said.
Mobile Number Portability will be available to post-paid and pre-paid mobile consumers of all service providers within the ECTEL region, as long as the customer’s number has not been barred, restricted, suspended, or handsets reported stolen or lost to the current provider.
There will be no charges for number porting. All porting or switching charges will be met by the service provider. However, the current provider may charge for the new SIM card and unlocking the customer’s handset, before the number is ported.
At the 39th ECTEL Council of Ministers meeting, where MNP was discussed, 4 out of the 5 council members were in attendance. Joining Honourable Bowen were Honourable Kelver Darroux from the Commonwealth of Dominica, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr. of St Kitts and Nevis, and Honourable Guy Joseph from St Lucia. Absent was Honourable Camillo Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The ministers all agreed that the introduction of Mobile Number Portability was one more success of ECTEL’s mission to improve the telecommunications regulatory environment in its member states.
Information on Mobile Number Portability is available through the NTRC or at www.ectel.int/mnp.
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