Number portability (NP) has been on the agenda of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) for some time now. To date, significant progress has been made to advance this agenda which is expected to be of great benefit to consumers in ECTEL Member States.
Number Portability (NP) enables telephone users to retain their telephone number when changing from one network operator to another. It is considered to be a key factor in enhancing competition in a multi-operator environment. Some of its benefits include: elimination of the cost of businesses and residential customers of number change and the tedious process of informing others of this change; lowering of the cost of switching service providers; more efficient allocation of limited numbering resources and a more level competitive environment, with lowered barriers to entry for new service providers.
It is considered to be a key factor in enhancing competition in a multi-operator environment.
Two services will be launched in ECTEL Member States – Mobile and Fixed Line portability services. Mobile users will be able to change from one provider to another without the need to change their number, and similarly for fixed line customers. Although work has commenced on both services, it is expected that Mobile portability will be launched first, followed by Fixed Line portability.
Work to introduce number portability to all ECTEL Member States; Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis officially commenced in November 2015. The number portability project is expected to increase the telecommunications competitive environment and give more power to consumers.
Number portability has already been launched in The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Martinique and Guadeloupe, and work is being undertaken in Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Barbados.
Key Milestones in the implementation of Number Portability in ECTEL Member States
October 27th 2011: the ECTEL Council of Ministers in St. Kitts and Nevis approved the implementation of Number Portability (NP) in all ECTEL Member States with the following recommendations:
- Service Provider Number Portability (SPNP) in both fixed and mobile markets.
- SPNP will be facilitated through the establishment of a Centralized Database (CDB).
- An Industry Working Group (TWG) will be established.
July 2015: Commencement of work on the implementation of number portability in with the engagement of a consultant to coordinate the operations of this project on behalf of ECTEL and the NTRCs.
November 18th 2015: Establishment of an Industry Working Group comprising:
- Legal, regulatory and technical personnel from service providers who were issued Central Office Codes;
- The NTRCs;
- ECTEL and the consultant