Number woes prompt deadline rethink

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 July, 1998, 12:00am

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) is considering delaying the deadline for the implementation of cellular number portability after problems raised by some operators.

Last Month, Ofta announced it had set January 1 next year as the date number portability should be operational.

This would allow customers to switch between networks while keeping their own personal mobile phone numbers, something impossible at the moment.

Most analysts see this as a positive move for the cheaper new PCS networks and likely to hasten the speed at which existing customers leave the established and more expensive GSM networks.

An Ofta spokesman said a delay was being considered as one option in answer to problems raised by some operators.

'On present indications if there is a delay it would only be for a month or two,' he said.

Analysts expect a widespread shake-up of the market when portability is introduced.

It is widely believed that the inability to take a personal number between networks means some customers are sticking with more expensive networks when they would otherwise move.

Any delay in the introduction of number portability would tend to favour those networks.