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TRA announces mobile number portability by December

UAE residents to re-register Sim cards

UAE residents given the choice to switch operators.

October 22, 2013 2:45 by

After a five-year delay, residents in the UAE will soon have the ability to shift between rival telecom operators, du and Etisalat, while holding on to the same mobile number.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced on Monday, during GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, that it would allow mobile number portability (MNP) by December this year.

This announcement comes five years after the service was initially meant to be introduced, to boost competition in the state-controlled sector.

The TRA previously announced that the service would be available by mid-2008, but has repeatedly delayed it due to technical issues.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA’s director-general, says that an essential element in the health of the mobile market in the country is providing consumers with the ability to choose between competing providers.

“UAE mobile phone users have the right – if they wish – to retain their telephone number and this is the motivation behind the announcement,” he says.

Etisalat’s domestic monopoly ended when du began operating in 2007. The latter firm now has a 47 per cent share of the UAE’s mobile subscribers, according to its second-quarter results, released in June.

Recent research by Google has shown that the UAE has the highest smartphone penetration in the world, at 73.8 per cent.

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