Number Portability Coming in September

URCA DPR BereauxOn June 10 2013, the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) launched two major initiatives: an information and public awareness campaign in the lead up to the September 3rd implementation of Number Portability, and a public consultation exercise to establish regulations for the protection of consumers in the electronic communications sector (ECS).

Number portability or number porting, enables users to keep their current telephone number when switching from one telecommunications service provider to another, which for landlines will become available in The Bahamas on September 3rd, in places where there is more than fixed line telephone services provider. Currently that includes four islands: Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence.

Between now and September, URCA will conduct a multimedia information campaign to educate consumers on key issues related to number portability, including but not limited to eligibility, costs, the porting process and various business rules that operators will be required to observe.

The process of bringing number portability to The Bahamas began in April 2011 when the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) launched its initial public consultation and later in November of that year, established an industry working group comprising representatives from existing telephone service providers in The Bahamas. Chaired by URCA, that industry working group’s task was to identify a solution for number portability in The Bahamas and to draft a detailed work plan for its implementation.

By a competitive process, Porting Access BV, also known as Porting XS, was selected to provide the system which makes number portability work. The company provides and manages number portability services in many places, including the Cayman Islands, Panama, Ghana, Kenya, Chanel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey) the Isle of Man, the Netherlands and Gibraltar. The company’s locally based and incorporated subsidiary, Porting Access Bahamas, LLC, is licenced by URCA, to provide and operate the Number Portability Administration Service in The Bahamas.