Jamaica – Number portability now a reality

26 Jun

KINGSTON, Jamaica – In a press release Sunday, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell announced that effective 12:01 am, Monday, all systems are in place to facilitate number portability by individuals and businesses.

In this regard, both fixed-line and mobile telephone customers in Jamaica will be able to switch networks and retain their original numbers if they so desire.

The first port would become possible at 9:00 am on June 22, 2015.

The release said that the minister received the update en route to the island from official business in the Russian Federation and declared that “it is with a sense of relief and satisfaction that I have received official notification that the tedious process of facilitating number portability has been successfully completed and the Jamaican consumers can now change from one telecommunications service provider to another and retain his/her original number”.

He continued: “However, the greatest test is the successful implementation of each request and ultimately the satisfaction of the consumer. Like all new systems of this magnitude, there may be minor glitches, but our expectation is that if and when there is such an occurrence that this will be addressed expeditiously and at a minimal inconvenience to the consumer.”

The notification was conveyed to the telecommunications minister by chairman of the Number Portability Working Group, Herman Athias, who was charged with the responsibility of monitoring and assessing the progress of the porting process on a daily basis and provides the Minister and the regulatory authorities with regular updates.

Last month, telecommunications industry participants, following an emergency meeting with Minister Paulwell, were granted an 18-day extension in order to facilitate the seamless roll-out of Local Number Portability (LNP).

The extension was based on “the expressed commitment of industry players to work together to ensure the seamless roll-out of number portability in this country. The concession would have allowed for critical tests to ensure optimum performance and prevent any calamitous system failure that would negatively impact the entire service, impede the porting process, and erode consumer satisfaction and confidence,” the minister stated at the time.

He also emphasised that the extended schedule ought to be sufficient to facilitate the ongoing comprehensive tests required and that any further delay would be untenable.

The process of number portability in Jamaica gained momentum following the gazetting of the Telecommunications Act (Number Portability) Rules 2014, in December 2014 and the granting of a 10-year licence in March this year to Porting Access BV of The Netherlands to administer number portability services in Jamaica. Under the licence, Porting Access BV will operate, manage, coordinate, and maintain the number portability central reference database and an automated central order handling system, including related activities to facilitate number portability.

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