Mobile phone users in the Maldives can now switch mobile phone supplier, but retain their existing numbers, the Communication Authority of Maldives has announced.
Maldives’ telco providers Dhiraagu and Ooredoo have invested US$3million to introduce number portability, Home Minister Umar Naseer said at the new policy’s unveiling this morning.
Number portability will ensure healthy competition in the telecommunications market, he said, adding that only India and Pakistan in the South Asia offer the service.
Dhiraagu CEO Ismail Waheed described the number portability services as one that would open up more choices to the customers, while Ooredoo CEO Vikram Sinha praised the new service as one that demonstrated the Maldives’ progressive telecommunications policy.
Customers wishing to move their phone number to another networks must pay all pending bills before switching.
The request can be made via a text message with the phrase “PORT” to 234. A fee of MVR200 will be charged. Customers are also required have to fill an application form at the service provider they want to move to, and network migration will take place within 90 days.
Dhiraagu, the state-owned telco, came under fire in January over derogatory remarks by its Chairman Mohamed Ashmalee.
A Facebook post by Ashmalee wishing former President Mohamed Nasheed’s flight “lands in the middle of the ocean” triggered a boycott campaign against Dhiraagu.
Hundreds of opposition supporters switched to Ooredoo and posted photos of themselves signing contracts with the Qatar based company.
Ooreedoo Maldives, formerly Wataniya, was issued a license as a mobile phone operator in February 2005. t is the sole competitor to Dhiraagu.