Mobile number portability (MNP) in Kenya – which was originally scheduled to go live on 31 December – has been delayed until 1 April 2011, according to a report by Daily Nation. Citing a Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) PR contact, Daily Nation says that the delay is down to ‘the un-preparedness of mobile operators’, before going on to suggest that three of the country’s four operators are not yet ready to initiate the service. It is believed that Airtel Kenya was the only operator on course for MNP, with managing director Rene Meza stating: ‘We’re technically ready for MNP and have been collaborating very closely with the CCK to make MNP a reality by December this year. Unfortunately, not all operators are ready and thus it had to be postponed’. In contrast, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore expressed doubts on the validity of MNP, commenting: ‘This is a multi-SIM country, and almost everyone buys more than one SIM card. Number portability may not work here like in other countries’.
However, in light of the postponement, the CCK has said that it will urge all four operators to sign an inter-operator agreement with Netherlands-based Porting Access, which was awarded a contract to supply, install, commission, and manage the country’s MNP services in March 2010. Those wishing to switch operators while retaining their numbers will pay a one-off fee of KES199.80 (USD2.39). According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in November 2004 the CCK announced that MNP would be introduced on 1 July 2005. The deadline was later pushed back, and in 2007 MNP was postponed indefinitely after operators complained about the high costs involved in setting up the system. In April 2010 the CCK announced that the country’s four cellcos – Safaricom, Zain, Orange and Essar – would be required to start offering MNP from July this year, a date which was subsequently put back a further six months, to 31 December.