The government of Zimbabwe is now unlikely to implement mobile number portability (MNP) before 2017. A report from TechZim cites Hilda Mutseyikwa, an executive at telecoms regulator POTRAZ, as saying at a conference this week: ‘Sometime in 2013, we did consultations with operators on the feasibility of introducing number portability and our conclusion then was that it was not feasible … We were also looking at the cost implications and who was going to manage that platform and then we concluded that maybe it may not be viable. But we haven’t really cancelled that project. We are considering reviving it again, most probably this year or in 2017.’
Given that the watchdog has still to even begin the search for a consultant to help manage the implementation of MNP, and operators will need time to introduce the necessary systems to allow for portability, then next year would seem the earliest possible launch date for MNP. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zimbabwe was home to around 13 million mobile users by the end of March 2016, with Econet Wireless claiming around 52% of the market and state-backed firms NetOne and Telecel accounting for the remainder.