Around 61,000 mobile subscribers in the UAE have requested to switch their operators since the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) service in December 2013, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) said on Thursday.
More than 23,000 mobile numbers were ported out of the total 61,000 requests while many requests were resubmitted to obtain required documents to switch over, the authority said.
“The significant number of porting requests received reflects the real interest of UAE consumers in the MNP service,” said Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA.
“This move will enhance the quality of services offered to consumers and in turn, drive levels of performance upwards.”
The MNP service was introduced last year to boost competition in the UAE’s state-controlled telecoms sector.
The TRA is responsible for overseeing the switchover process through monitoring the service mechanisms and by ensuring that all necessary documents are submitted to complete the transition.
The Emirates’ telecom regulatory authority also said that it received a number of complaints from subscribers about a delay in switching operators. It added that the complaints were resolved through cooperation with the licensees and customers.
The TRA also urged subscribers to be aware of their obligations and responsibilities outlined in the contracts signed with the telco before submitting MNP requests.
“Subscribers must review their existing contracts and particularly those who have signed contracts for a limited period of time where typically, termination fees result from ending a contract prematurely,” the telecoms regulator said in a statement.
It added that subscribers have the right to return to their original telecom operator during the first three days of the number transfer.
The TRA said that it launched the MNP service after receiving assurance from telcos that all the requirements and technical procedural adjustments were met ahead of time.
A recent AMRB study, which polled 500 mobile users in the country, found that around 23 per cent of mobile subscribers expressed a ‘high likelihood’ of switching their operator in the future.
Around 56 per cent of du subscribers said that they considered changing to Etisalat, expecting better network coverage. Almost 47 per cent of Etisalat customers said that they want to switch operators due to better prices and packages for calls, according to the survey.