The implementation of geographic number portability (GNP) has been delayed, following a request from Telkom and Neotel for more time to iron out technical prolems they didn't initially anticipate. Phase two of the GNP project, aimed at consumers, will now start on 26 April 2010.
Geographic number portability deals with fixed line numbers, such as 021 and 011, that indicate a subscriber’s geographic location.
GNP allows subscribers to change their fixed line operator without changing their fixed line numbers. Phase one of GNP, which was focused on businesses using blocks of 1 000 or 10 000 numbers and was initiated on 18 May 2009, is now complete.
“We were early advocates of GNP because it is one of the most important aspects of deregulation of the South African telecommunications landscape,” says Angus Hay, executive head of technology at Neotel. “It gives subscribers true freedom of choice as to their fixed line service provider. They can keep their fixed line number which, for most people, is an integral part of either their home or business lives, while being able to shop around for better rates and services from carriers. GNP gives control of the telecommunications market to consumers.
“In doing that, it forces service providers to be competitive not simply on price but on the type and range of services they provide. Only the most agile and customer-focused of service providers will survive. Clearly, we’re confident not just of surviving but of prospering in such a competitive market – and, for that reason, we’re looking forward to helping to ensure, in this next month, that there will be no glitches once GNP for consumers is launched.”