Barbadians will soon be able to switch telephone service providers for mobile and landline/fixed services without having to change their phone numbers.
The process, called Local Number PortabilityorNumber Porting, is free to consumers and will remove the hassle and inconvenience of having to inform contacts such as family, friends, colleagues, customers and clients that telephone numbers have been changed. The only cost persons are likely to incur is a small fee to unlock their handset for it to work on the new network.
Previously, switching to a new service provider also meant having to get a new telephone number. It is expected that the new system will benefit customers by promoting competition, as providers compete to offer services with better prices and the quality of service they believe to be most attractive to consumers.
All telecommunications service providers are on board with the new system. Digital Infrastructure, formerly the Barbados Telecommunications Unit which falls under the Ministry of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology (MIST), is the regulatory body responsible for providing recommendations and advice on telecommunications matters to Government.
Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology, Davidson Ishmael, explained that the initiative will be supported by legislation which Government is putting in place. The legislation and regulations mandating the introduction and launch of the Local Number Portability service are ingrained within the national telecommunications legislation of Barbados.
Mr. Ishmael further noted that Government is making it easier for new companies to join the telecommunications market.
“We have put measures in place to ensure that these new firms can connect to existing networks at a fair price, so that they can offer competitive services to you, the consumer, giving you more choice and more power when it comes to the choice of your phone company. We eagerly look forward to making local number portability a reality here in our country,” he stated.