Sun | Oct 2, 2022

Number portability to benefit consumers

Published:Sunday | June 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Digicel's new headquarters in downtown Kingston.
Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson

Jamaican consumers can now benefit from the introduction of number portability.

To further enhance consumer convenience and create a more competitive environment in the telecommunications sector, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) has introduced service provider number portability.


What is number portability?


Number portability will enable subscribers to keep the same telephone numbers when changing service providers. Jamaicans tend to regard telephone numbers as important and as a form of personal identification.We prefer not to change our phone numbers and we want less hassle if we have to do so and inform persons (friends, family, customers) about our new contact details.

In addition, since many Jamaicans migrate, we do not want to lose touch with old friends if they change phone numbers, Hey The Jamaican number-portability process


In Jamaica, the porting process will be recipient-led, that is, subscribers wishing to port their numbers will have to contact the new service provider (the recipient operator) to initiate the porting. The NP rules explicitly prohibits the donor operator from contacting the subscriber once the donor is notified that the subscriber intends to port his number. Consequently, the recipient operator, will act as the subscriber agent to close his account with the donor operator. Communication between the recipient and donor operators will be conducted via the central order handling system which will be operated by the number portability administrator.


The Number Portability (Working Group) 


The Number Portability Working Group was established by the minister to, inter alia:

- Consider NP implementation issues.

- Develop industry guidelines and codes of practice.

-  Prepare an implementation schedule and manage the implementation of NP.

The group consists of representatives of MSTEM, Digicel, LIME, FLOW, Island Networks, and the Office of Utilities Regulation.


The role of the OUR


Among its core functions are the development and administration of the National Numbering Plan and the development of rules and guidelines for the allocation, assignment and use of numbers in Jamaica. Rules for the implementation of number portability were made by the minister of STEM, in consultation with the OUR and industry players. The OUR facilitates the arrangements to ensure that number portability is introduced and administered in a manner that will produce pro-competitive outcomes on a fair and equitable basis.


Number portability administrator (NPA)


Number portability administration is the administrative processes (ordering, provisioning and notification), for managing and porting numbers between operators. The NPA provides the number portability administration service which will be a managed service to administer number portability in Jamaica. This functionality will encompass the need to maintain relevant details regarding fixed and mobile subscriber number ranges together with the full history of any porting activity for any particular number and for providing specific statistical information as required by the OUR.

The role of the NPA is to log and enable the management and delivery of the number-portability transactions between the recipient and donor operators, and to 'broadcast' the results of each successful porting to all participating operators.

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