During a joint weekly meeting for the Rotary Clubs of Lucaya and Freeport on Tuesday (April 11), guest speaker Chief Executive Officer at Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA), Stephen Bereaux, explained mobile number portability and the significance of the competition, and ultimately, the superior service that this will bring with those in attendance.
The CEO noted that the government of The Bahamas and URCA recently introduced competition in the mobile section of telecommunications after a long monopoly.
“URCA wanted to ensure there is mobile portability in The Bahamas, because almost everyone has a mobile phone and in a competitive market, the ability to take your number and change your provider is a key enabler,” Bereaux stated.
Bereaux added that Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will be introduced on April 25 this year and persons wishing to switch provider will now be able to take the number they may have had for decades with them.
“I cannot overstate how excited we are to be able to bring this benefit as part of the competitively. A key issue is that persons have had their number for a decade or more – it is part of their business, part of their identity and it is yours. That is one of the critical points we have stressed throughout the process. Technically, the number belongs to the government and not the provider and after years, the customer has good will in that number.”
Bereaux shared with the Rotarians that after a survey, URCA found 80 percent of people did not want to switch, because it was important they kept their number.
Bereaux noted that both providers concerned, namely Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC) and BeAliv Limited (Aliv) will be interchangeable.
“Within a two week period you will be able to go back immediately and after that, after three months. We want people to try competition. We want people to give it a go and decide which provider gives them the better price and the best service,” Bereaux maintained.
URCA’s CEO explained that the process to switch providers and retain the same mobile number will be as quick as it takes to buy service. “You go in as you would normally and fill in a form, you send a text message and your number will port within two hours. On average the process takes between two and a half and twelve minutes,” Bereaux explained.
In concluding, the URCA Chief Executive stressed the company’s belief that only through competition will the consumers get the best service. “Anything that stops you moving is a bad thing,” Bereaux added.
Published Thursday, April 13, 2017