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Minister irons out number portability timeline with leading telecoms firms

Published:Thursday | January 10, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

As the Government moves ahead with plans to make number portability a reality by year-end, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell says he will be ensuring that by month-end, an agreement on the rules to facilitate the process is met by all parties involved.

"We have determined that by the end of this month, all of those rules will be signed off on by the players so that I can get something to Cabinet by early February, and I am determined as House leader to have those rules in place before the end of the financial year," Paulwell told The Gleaner during a special forum at the newspaper's North Street, central Kingston, offices.

"(These) are all the significant issues based on which we are going to establish the system," he explained.

Number portability allows persons to maintain their telephone numbers when switching networks.

Paulwell said that during a meeting with the country's leading communications firms - Digicel, LIME and Flow - on Tuesday, a timetable was worked out for the enactment of the rules and regulations through Parliament.

Paulwell said also that the Government had decided that it would be left up to telecoms provider to source the company that would provide the hosting platform to facilitate the porting of telephone numbers.


"We agreed (Tuesday) that the Government was not going to be the provider of this facility, nor are we going to be responsible for procuring it. There are many companies across the world that are involved in hosting a facility that allows you to port so that if you want to move from Digicel to LIME with your number, you can just go, sign up with LIME and the number is ported," he said.

"What we agreed on yesterday (Tuesday) was that the players - Flow, Digicel, LIME - will make a determination based on a strata process because if (Government) were to procure that, it would take months, and we certainly wouldn't have number portability this year."

Paulwell said the Government was willing to endorse whatever company they decide on.