The UAE’s two telecoms operators, Etisalat and Du, will offer full number portability (NP) by the end of March 2011, according to a report by Reuters, which cites the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). The regulator hopes that the service, which allows subscribers to retain their telephone number when they switch service provider, will encourage competition in a market where – according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database – wireless penetration is as high as 240%. ‘It will stimulate competition between the two operators because operators will try to hold onto their customers,’ commented Mohamed Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA, at a conference in Abu Dhabi. ‘Both operators will be in readiness by the end of this month. Then the TRA will test it,’ he added. Ghanim also stated that infrastructure sharing between Etisalat and Du will ‘hopefully’ happen in 2011, with both companies currently working towards solving technical issues. He also ruled out issuing a third licence in the UAE, stating that ‘the market cannot take [another player]’.