Neotel has confirmed that everything is on track for individual number porting to become available in April 2010.
Geographic number portability is defined as the process via which customers can transfer their fixed line number from one operator to the next – maintaining their telephone number but switching operators.
“The porting of numbers in blocks of 100 00 or 1 000 has been available for some months now,” says Angus Hay, executive head: technology at Neotel. “Unfortunately that excluded many businesses, as it is only relevant to very large corporations.
“Some large customers have already ported a number of 10 000 and 1 000 blocks to Neotel. In addition, we are already testing 100-block porting, and as of April will be able to do 100-block and individual porting for any customer,” he says. “This is what South Africans have been waiting for, of course – the ability to port their individual fixed line telephone numbers.”
Geographic number portability brings a new dimension of freedom of choice to the consumer as they no longer have to lose their existing fixed line number when changing service providers. “This truly puts the consumer in charge of their own destiny when it comes to service providers,” Hay says.
ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of SA) ruled on 18 December 2009 that ported numbers must be indicated to the consumer by the sound of three beeps while a call is being connected, as is currently the industry standard with ported cellular numbers.