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Consumers say they are reluctant to swap cell phone operators if they are not allowed to take their numbers with them.
March 7, 2010 6:37 by Ben Flanagan
Consumers will only swap to a different mobile phone operator if they are allowed to keep their existing number, according to a poll of Kipp readers.
When asked “would you ever switch to a different mobile phone operator?”, 45 per cent said “yes” – but only if they could take their phone number with them.
Another 40 percent of respondents said that they would swap operator if they found a cheaper tariff elsewhere.
Just 5 percent of those polled said that they would not bother switching operators, because “there’s no real difference between operators”, while 10 percent said they would not do so because “it’s too much hassle”.
The majority of Kipp’s readers live in the UAE, where the local Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is planning on launching mobile number portability, which will allow mobile users to switch between the two current operators while retaining their number. Currently, mobile users in the UAE cannot transfer between the two operators Etisalat or du without changing their number.
Osman Sultan, the chief executive of UAE telecoms operator du, said at the company’s recent results announcement that “things are almost ready” for number portability, but said he could not give a date for launch.
“I think this will be a boost and [promote] growth for us,” added Sultan.