Barbadians should be able to switch telephone service providers without losing their phone numbers from December, according to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Giving Parliament an overview of developments in Barbados’ telecommunications sector, for which he has ministerial responsibility, Stuart today said that the Division of Telecommunications had launched a Local Number Portability Project in September 2017, “and we confidently expect that by the end of this year, by December 2018, the Local Number Portability Project would have been completed”.
“The objective of this project is to give Barbadians the ability to change their telecommunications service provider without having to change their number,” he explained, adding, “so your number becomes portable even though your service provider has changed . . . at minimal cost”.
Stuart’s announcement came as he introduced the Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2017, aimed “to ensure that specified provisions of the Act are applicable to the rules, regulations and orders made in accordance with the Act”.
The Prime Minister’s timeline for rollout of number portability however differs with that set by the Fair Trading Commission when it approved the merger of Cable &Wireless Communications PLC, which traded locally as Lime, and Columbus International Inc, which traded locally Flow, in 2015.
The FTC had stated then that “the merged entity, in accordance with its commitments, must be technically ready for Local Number Portability (“LNP”) in the fixed network by September 30, 2015 and Mobile Number Portability (‘MNP”) in the mobile network by November 30, 2015”. However, those deadlines have not been met.