URCA confirms MNP now available, despite ‘kinks’ in the process

5 May 2017

Bahamian telecoms watchdog the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has confirmed that mobile number portability (MNP) services were made available from last week. According to the URCA, ‘scores’ of Bahamian wireless customers were able to port their numbers between the nation’s two cellular providers – incumbent Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and newcomer Aliv – from 27 April. The regulator noted, however, that the system was experiencing some teething problems, with messages not being passed between operators within the timeframes stipulated in the MNP rules. In its statement, the URCA explained: ‘The porting process should normally take no more than two hours, however we do ask consumers to be patient in the event that their request to port takes a little more time while the operators work to address any kinks’. Despite the issues, the URCA said it was ‘satisfied’ that BTC, Aliv and the third-party clearing house were working to tackle the issues as quickly as possible.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BTC’s monopoly on the Bahamian mobile market ended in November last year when Aliv launched 2G, 3G and 4G services in New Providence and Grand Bahama. The terms of Aliv’s licence contained a strict network rollout schedule intended to bring the operator up to national coverage within two years. During that two year period, however, Aliv was also supposed to be granted national roaming rights on BTC’s networks, but reports from the newcomer last month suggested that the incumbent was delaying the process.