Despite announcing in mid-May that all was on track for number portability by the start of this month, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining now says it has granted an extension to LIME to get its infrastructure working properly.
A statement from government said the revised date for the roll-out of number portability is now June 22.
“We have determined that all the testing must be completed before that time and that the modifications be done to system to ensure that we have no further delays,” Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell told the Jamaica Observer.
At a meeting involving stakeholders on May 29, Paulwell was asked to give LIME, one of the island’s three major service providers, more time to complete testing.
“The concession will allow 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,” he is quoted in the Jamaica Gleaner as saying.
This is the fifth time in less than three years that implementation has been pushed back. It was initially to have taken effect in December 2012.
At a media and stakeholder workshop on May 13, Paulwell said all the required infrastructure was in place to facilitate number portability and all service providers had agreed to facilitate the platform.
Paulwell said at the time that number portability would empower consumers and result in greater competition and the lower prices.
“With the new system . . . that number is yours. It allows the consumer to be in control of the number and gives the consumer power over the provider,” he said, adding that switching providers would not cost consumers.
“The law now prohibits a charge by the donor provider to the customer apart from those that govern the service prior to the porting (switching from one provider to another). The incoming provider has the option, but I suspect it might prove foolhardy on their part to impart charges on new clients.”
Initially, number portability will only be facilitated from mobile to mobile and fixed line to fixed line but Paulwell said that would change eventually.