Cairo on 7 June 2020
The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has witnessed, via videoconference, the launching of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service, that enables mobile telephone subscribers to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network to another, after applying new regulations set by the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), according to international standards.
The aim is to facilitate the transfer process for subscribers and reduce the time needed to switch between mobile networks, in a maximum of 24 hours. NTRA Executive President Hossam El-Gamal attended the launching ceremony.
Talaat stated that the new regulations set to facilitate the transfer process and enable subscribers to keep their mobile numbers, prove how keen the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) is to develop and improve the telecommunication services rendered to citizens and help them change freely from one mobile network to another.
The new regulations reflect NTRA efforts to regulate the relation between mobile telephone subscribers and network operators, and set regulations and mechanisms to protect subscribers’ rights and govern the services they receive. This is in addition to encouraging mobile network operators to invest in developing and improving the quality of services they provide, which will contribute positively to satisfying subscribers and developing the ICT sector.
The ICT Minister highlighted that NTRA inspected the transfer procedures and found out that around 20% only of the submitted transfer requests were fulfilled, which made it necessary to change the old system into a more effective one. He also said that NTRA is following an automated mechanism that enables monitoring requests and making sure they are fulfilled.
In addition, a number of sanctions were imposed to ensure the compliance of mobile network operators with the system, Talaat said, adding that the mobile network operators cooperated over the past two months, as NTRA was developing the new system.
Talaat also said that new initiatives for improving the quality of telecommunication services would be announced later.
For his part, El-Gamal stated that in NTRA role to follow up, supervise and monitor the quality of telecommunication services, and with regard to the “user” pillar in the methodology of improving the quality of service, NTRA has three strategic objectives. These objectives include raising awareness through achieving transparency and keeping citizens updated on the quality of services provided by mobile network operators, through publishing simplified monthly reports on NTRA website to help subscribers choose the right network.
This is in addition to allowing subscribers to choose freely a service provider and transfer to another mobile network, with protecting their rights in retaining their numbers, as well as facilitating the transfer process through setting new regulations that ensure that the process is done in 24 hours, without restrictions, thus enabling free competition among mobile network operators and, accordingly, improving the quality of service.
El-Gamal, also, said that a system has been developed for following up on the requests submitted to the network that the user plans to transfer to, in coordination with the network they are transferring from.
NTRA studied the complaints submitted to the complaint center and developed mechanisms to resolve them, in coordination with the mobile network operators, in the best interest of subscribers. The study showed that the majority of complaints submitted to NTRA, last year, were for subscribers facing problems changing to a different mobile network, which required NTRA to intervene to amend the transfer regulations, according to international standards.
With the new regulations, subscribers can retain their numbers and change to a different mobile network in just one working day, as long as the mobile line is officially owned by the user submitting the transfer, and registered with their valid National ID at the old service provider. In addition, the user must have owned the line for at least four months, with paying the last bill. According to the new regulations, mobile network operators do not have the right to reject a transfer request for no other reason.
NTRA dedicated the hotline 155 at the complaint center for receiving inquiries and complaints on the transfer process. The user only has to press the asterisk button to submit an inquiry or a compliant pertaining to changing to a different mobile network.
Furthermore, given the significance of raising subscribers’ awareness on the steps and conditions of the services they receive, NTRA issued, on its official website, the Mobile Number Portability Subscriber's Guidelines, including information on subscribers’ rights, as well as the details needed to facilitate the transfer process. To access the MNP Guidelines, kindly visit NTRA's website: http://www.tra.gov.eg.