From 2017 subscribers will able to retain their mobile phone number should they decide to change providers.
The Department of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has released a document directing mobile network operators to prepare for deploying mobile number portability (MNP) services.
The service would enable subscribers to retain their phone number if they were to switch service providers. A national network-switching center that connects all telecommunications service providers is to be built to enable this switching. MIC said that according to international experience the rate of subscribers switching networks is expected to be 1-2 per cent per year. The whole system is to be able to serve 4 million switching subscribers in the first three years of implementation.
The department requires providers establish technical systems (network switching portals) that connect to a national switching center. Before May 6, 2015 (the trial period), service providers need to build at least one transmission line connected to the department’s system. Before May 10, 2015, providers need additional backup lines for testing on a large scale and must then officially provide the service.
The department also provides a roadmap. From June to August 8, 2015 the department will connect the national network-switching center with the portals of providers and implement integration testing. The following two months will be a test period with a number of specific subscribers. A year later, actual customers will be tested and the service will be officially launched by 2017.
The MNP scheme was approved in May 9, 2013 and is expected to improve competition and promote the development of the mobile market. There are about 70 countries around the world providing this service, including the US, Japan, the UK, and Australia. Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang was quoted as saying that the policy will help Vietnamese mobile carriers use their pools of mobile phone numbers in a more efficient way. It would also force them to continually improve their services and cut costs to benefit subscribers, who will no longer have to rely on a carrier to use a specific phone number.