Cellcos looking to introduce MNP early to boost 3G prospects

18 Aug 2005

Taiwan’s Directorate General of Telecommunications has granted Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone permission to implement mobile number portability (MNP) ahead of the 15 October deadline, much to the chagrin of start-up rival Vibo Telecom. Chunghwa and Far EasTone are hoping to push through MNP early in a bid to boost take-up of their recently launched 3G services. ‘The approval makes it much easier for subscribers to adopt W-CDMA services because they can keep their original numbers while using more advanced technology,’ a spokesman for Chunghwa Telecom told the Taipei Times. The country’s second-largest cellco Taiwan Mobile says it expects to receive approval for an early introduction of MNP soon. The Directorate’s ruling has upset Vibo Telecom, which is currently seeking a 1xEV-DO licence whilst simultaneously rolling out its W-CDMA network ahead of a proposed December launch. Vibo is worried that the introduction of MNP ahead of schedule will damage competition.

Earlier this month a study conducted by Business Today reported that four million Taiwanese mobile users are thinking of switching away from their current mobile service provider when MNP is introduced. The study found that around 30% of the 1,105 respondents polled said they were unhappy with the current prices being charged by their operators, with Chunghwa’s mobile arm topping the list among complainants. FarEasTone fared a little better with 15% of people asked saying the company needed to improve phone service quality and prices, while many more expressed dissatisfaction over the standard of customer services of all the major cellcos.