The UAE’s telecoms regulator has announced that Etisalat and du will launched the mobile phone number portability service this month.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in a statement that it has given both operators a deadline to prepare their commercial offerings and sales channels, with the transfer for subscribers starting on December 30 at 8am.
When effective, the change will allow customers to switch between the Gulf state’s two network operators while retaining their phone number.
The TRA initially aimed to introduce mobile phone number portability back in mid-2008, but it and the country’s operators have missed numerous deadlines in the years since.
The regulator said the move was part of its commitment to promote greater levels of competition in the UAE mobile operator market, and to improve the level of service available for consumers.
“It is considered an effective service that is intended to promote further competition in mobile communications in the UAE as the mobile phone subscribers will be able to keep their original phone numbers if they wanted,” the statement read.
Currently, the UAE has a mobile phone penetration rate of 181 percent and a smartphone penetration rate of 73.8 percent.
“There is no doubt that the availability of MNP will enhance competition in the local telecommunications market immediately,” the TRA added.