France’s Minister of Industry Francois Loos yesterday dropped a strong hint that an improved system for mobile number portability (MNP) could become a reality for French users sometime in the spring of 2007. Speaking at a press conference in Paris, the minister said the technical system supplied by Groupe Steria is in place and that tests are currently under way. If all goes to plan, the regulator Arcep should be able to announce the launch of the new system in mid-February next year, Loos said. The French mobile market is home to around fifteen mobile service providers although network operators Orange France, SFR and Bouygues Télécom are the largest. Mobile prices look set to drop as competition intensifies and customers leapfrog from one operator to another in an attempt to get the best deal.