MNP fails to shake up market

29 Nov 2005

The long-awaited introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) in Taiwan has done little to alter the status quo in the market with the nation’s biggest operators playing down the service in a bid to hold onto their customers, according to the Taipei Times. MNP was finally introduced to Taiwan last month, but the expected flurry of users swapping providers has failed to materialise after the country’s three largest cellcos – Chunghwa Telecom, FarEasTone and Taiwan Mobile – introduced a raft of benefits and discounts for customers who resist the lure of switching networks. Some 86,000 mobile users have applied for MNP so far, but just 35,000 have completed the switch, equivalent to less than 0.05% of the country’s subscriber base. ‘The public’s response fell short of our expectations,’ an official at the Directorate General of Telecommunications told the Taipei Times. The regulator had expected around 10,000 MNP applications a day, but is currently receiving just 2,000.

The results have confounded a study conducted by Chinese-language daily Business Today in August, which claimed that four million people were thinking of switching away from their current mobile service provider. 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.