Sun | May 28, 2017

Simple Facts About Jamaican Local Number Portability

Published:Monday | July 6, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Customers anxiously wait to be let into a crowded LIME store in Beckford Plaza, Savanna-la-Mar on Saturday to access a mega-deal offered by the telecommunications company. Several thousand persons across the island were able to access LIME phones for only $500 with the purchase of $200 LIME credit. LIME also welcomed hundreds of customers who switched over from Digicelon Friday, marking approximately one week since the launch of local number portability.

As hundreds of Jamaicans take the opportunity to port their telephone numbers since the launch of Local Number Portability on June 22, 2015, telecommunications service providers and the Office of Utilities Regulation are fielding questions from consumers. Below are some of the answers to those burning questions.

Will I suffer any penalty for leaving a provider?

Any refundable fees, or penalties, may depend on the terms and conditions of your contract with your current service provider. If you have not completed a minimum required term of the contract with your existing service provider, you may be required to pay the charges due under the contract.

- Generally, though, you should examine carefully the provisions about termination of your service. Terminating a contract and porting your number should not be treated any differently than ending your contract without portability.

- Number portability is not a reason for your previous service provider to fail to honour its contractual obligations.

If I buy a package, for example, and a phone is offered at a discount based on a contract, what happens to the instrument or the contract should I decide to port?

It depends on your contract with your service provider. If you buy a discounted package, and then switch to another service provider before the end of the contract period, you will be required to clear the cost of the handset in addition to the remaining contract charges before porting.

Can a service provider under any circumstance, refuse to port my number?

Yes. A service provider may do so, if your number has:

- Been disconnected for non-payment or any other reason.

- Been ported in the last 90 days;

Or, if you have:

- Roamed overseas in the last five days; and

- An outstanding bill, due bill or unbilled charges which are more than your deposit.

Can I port my number if I have a disputed balance with my current service provider?

Yes. If the disputed amount is less than the deposit with your provider. You are still eligible to port if you are actively trying to resolve the matter of the disputed balance. You will still remain liable to pay any outstanding balance due to your current provider.

How long is the process of porting?

For fixed lines: Five working days (that is, excluding weekends and public holidays), after the day on which you make the request.

- For mobile: One working day (that is, excluding weekends and public holidays), after the day on which you make the request.

- The porting of a group of 100 or more fixed numbers: 10 days.

- For individual mobile numbers that require additional authorisation or groups of 50 or more mobile numbers: Two days

I run a business. Will switching mean being without telephone service until the porting process is complete?

No. The porting process should not result in any noticeable interruption of your service whether for business or individual customers. The service provider will work to ensure that there is minimal interruption, if any.

What if I want to cancel my request to port my number?

A. Your porting request cannot be cancelled after the required forms are completed and submitted to your new service provider.

What if I'm not happy with my new service provider?

You may not port the same number again (whether to your previous service provider or to any other operator) for 90 days after the port has been completed. So, if you are unhappy, you will have to wait out the 90-day period.

- Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson is director, consumer and public affairs, Office of Utilities Regulation. She chairs the Number Portability Working Group sub-committee on public awareness.