Number porting between fixed, mobile networks allowed

14 Jul 2009

Hong Kong’s Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) has decided to allow operators to provide Fixed Mobile Number Portability (FMNP) on a voluntary basis, enabling fixed line users to be given numbers that were previously reserved for mobile phone services, and vice-versa. An OFTA statement read: ‘Whether and when the FMNP service will be available in the market will be a commercial decision of the operators. Under the voluntary scheme, operators who wish to implement the FMNP service may collaborate with one another and negotiate the terms and conditions for collaboration on a commercial basis.’ An independent market survey conducted in Hong Kong in early 2008 indicated that if the FMNP service was available for free, 25% of residential line users and 26% of business line users would opt for porting their fixed numbers to mobile networks. Opinions of the major telecoms operators on the full number portability system have been mixed, varying from wariness that costs involved would make it uneconomic, to positively welcoming the plan on the grounds that it allows more consumer choice. However, due to the voluntary nature of the scheme, a spokesperson for CSL New World Mobility, Hong Kong’s most subscribed mobile operator, said it was ‘unlikely’ that fixed line providers would agree to facilitate porting.

Hong Kong