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Zimbabwe number portability: POTRAZ issues notice to operators (Exclusive)

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  • POTRAZ expects mobile operators to implement number portability in 2014
  • POTRAZ says it regards number portability as an important regulatory tool to widen subscriber choice and promote service based competition 

POTRAZA source in the industry has told us that POTRAZ just issued a notice to all mobile operators in Zimbabwe informing them that number portability will need to be introduced in 2014. The notice, a copy of which we have, informs and seeks input from the mobile operators on the implementation of mobile number portability.

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Portability will make it possible for mobile subscribers to keep their phone numbers when they move from one network to another. Say for example a subscriber has a 071x xxx xxx NetOne number, they’d be able to keep this even after migrating to the Econet network which has a 077x xxx xxx range.

In the notice POTRAZ says: “The inability of subscribers to retain their respective mobile telephone numbers when they change service providers presents an obstacle to competition and an inconvenience to the customers.”

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According to POTRAZ, the notice represents the first step in moving towards number portability in Zimbabwe. Input form the operators on the technical considerations to implement portability, the document says, will be taken into account when the regulator comes up with the Number Portability Framework and Regulations. POTRAZ reiterates in the notice that it expects operators to include Number Portability in their respective plans for 2014.

Subscribers and consumer organisations in Zimbabwe have been lobbying POTRAZ to introduce number portability for a while now. Number portability, subscribers have said, will enable them to vote with the wallets when a an operator is providing poor service.

According to the statistics last released by POTRAZ earlier this year, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has 8 million subscribers, Telecel 2.4 million, and NetOne 2.1 million.

Number portability is expected to benefit the smaller operators in the market who are looking to attract subscribers away from the dominant ones. With the issue of keeping their old number resolved, subscribers are unlikely to think twice before switching to better deals and service offered by challenger operators. Econet Wireless is therefore likely to be affected negatively in this regard and will have to make significant value propositions matching or exceeding that of Telecel and NetOne.

It’s not clear if number portability will include the CDMA VoIP operators like Africom and Powertel. We’re guessing so. We will update once we get confirmation from the operators or POTRAZ.


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16 thoughts on “Zimbabwe number portability: POTRAZ issues notice to operators (Exclusive)

    1. Would it not benefit Econet if they offered better services and promotions to their customers?

      The heat is on….

  1. Great stuff!

    Expect lots of hurdles thrown into it by Econet. They will feel the pressure more than the other networks as many are stuck with it to preserve their numbers. On a customer service level,they’re the worst.

    The best thing that would save a mass exodus from econet is Ecocash

  2. Well well, the heat is on. MTN and Vodacom are feeling the effects of this service as they lose out to Cell C. Will we see the same scenario with Econet losing out to Telecel and NetOne? Customer service counts more these days than anything else.

  3. Well… Game changer! Perhaps this is Telecel’s chance to move with good speed in launching a product that will compete well with EcoCash. I can jus imagine a situation where today I buy a one dollar Buddie juice card, and tomorrow I a 5 dollar Telecel mega juice card, all on one number!!!!!

  4. I don’t see any reason for people to be excited or expect anything different . Telecel and Netone are Using Penetrative marketing so after this everyone would well lets say join them, but what will happen next, poor service(congested Networkand Call center , does anyone know of any other Service Center owned by Telecel besides the 2nd street, ), cause for so long they have been doing these Promotions without getting profits and improving on their Infrastructure. therefore they will be left with these options.
    1)Persuade POTRAZ to introduce Infrastructure Sharing (Might work)
    2)Talk to Econet and share with them for a fare(don’t know about that)
    3)Increase Fares which has made Econet what and Who they are are now.

    But of all these options Econet will benefit cause they have invested(knowing there is nothing called Brand loyalty).

    1. Totally agree. Neither Telecel nor NetOne are in a position right now to accommodate a huge influx of subscribers. And no one (read: none of my friends) wants to completely migrate to either of them and totally leave the maybe expensive but relatively dependable Econet.

  5. Are Potraz gonna attempt to do it themselves? will it be free? How long to port? Cos MNO’s will be reluctant, plus it requires a Central data base that all operators should agree to another rollacoasater enjoy the ride!!! Telcordia Technologies would be good for it get a local company to partner or potraz themselves lets see what happens!!

  6. How far with this initiative? Or have they forgotten? Or perhaps the ones who were proposing this were booted out of certain parties

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