Monday, May 02, 2005
Just came across this editorial in today's DAWN issue: "Mobile number portability: MOBILE phone users will find some respite thanks to the proposed introduction of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) for which Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has constituted a supervisory board that plans to implement the scheme by January 2006. A central database administration which will house a database of mobile subscriber number references is being developed to implement this portability facility. MNP, which allows mobile phone users to switch mobile phone operators but retain their existing number, is available in many countries of the world but its proposed arrival in Pakistan was being strongly resisted by two of the largest mobile operators, perhaps because they feared a loss of the market share. However, PTA was not convinced by their arguments and has gone ahead and decided that the facility will be made available next year which it believes will boost fair competition among all mobile phone operators.This decision is one that will benefit consumers who are already frustrated by the poor service current mobile phone operators are providing. Despite certain mobile phone companies being threatened with severe legal action, not to mention heavy fines, if their quality is not improved, consumers periodically face frequent problems in connectivity, poor network services and other customer-related issues. Many who complain of such problems are hesitant to switch over to another company because they do not want to switch their number, a concern that will no longer apply once MNP comes into force. This will also force mobile phone companies to ensure better service to their customers or face losing their subscribers to better companies. Either way, it seems the customer is in a win-win situation — provided PTA is able to ensure that the implementation of MNP goes through smoothly."