Azeri mobile operator Bakcell has announced that it is fully prepared to introduce mobile number portability (MNP), which enables a subscriber to retain their phone number if they switch service provider. The cellco said it plans to launch the service as soon as it receives the go-ahead from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). ‘We are ready to start today but this is a service that all operators must launch together so we are forced to wait for the other operators,’ said Bakcell CEO Richard Shearer, adding: ‘We have invested significant time and money into the development of MNP and in meeting compliance issues with the MCIT. Our systems are technically ready and have passed internal acceptance tests. Bakcell is sure that MNP will increase competition in Azerbaijan’s mobile communication market and is very committed to the introduction of MNP.’ Bakcell is Azerbaijan’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The cellco had a market share of 30.2% at the end of June 2012, compared to market leader Azercell’s 47.2% share, but ahead of Azerfon with 22.6%.