Monday, 10 May 2010

30 million mobile phone users in Kenya soon able to keep their number when changing providers

Dutch Provide Kenya With Number Portability
From PR Newswire /APO - Monday, 10 May 2010:
DELFT, The Netherlands and NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Within a couple of months 30 million mobile users in Kenya are able to keep their mobile phone number when changing providers. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has chosen the Dutch company PortingXS to provide number portability to the East-African country.

Until now, changing providers in Africa without losing your mobile phone number was only possible in Morocco, Egypt and South-Africa. Kenya is one of the leading African countries when it comes to mobile technology, even allowing its 38 million inhabitants to make financial transactions through their mobile phones, but it lacked the service of number portability.

To offer mobile users more freedom of choice and enhance competition and consumer convenience, Kenya started a tender for number portability in October last year. Of the six firms that made a bid – some African, some European – PortingXS came out as best. According to CEO Ronald Vlasman, PortingXS not only due to economical reasons, but also because his company will provide services from a local office in Nairobi and will train local students to employ them.

Kenya has 30 million mobile users. The main providers are Safaricom (78 percent), Zain Kenya (17 percent), Orange (4 percent) and Yu (1 percent). Changing providers is difficult for clients, because they lose their number in the process.

PortingXS will start number portability services in a few months, depending on the consultations with national providers and the CCK. “It’s our first giant step into the African continent, but definitely not our last,” CEO Ronald Vlasman states. “There are talks with surrounding and other African countries to implement number portability as we speak and we hope we can provide our services there as well.”

In the Netherlands, PortingXS provides services to two third of the operators. Two years ago the company stepped into the international market and it handles number portability on the isles of Guernsey, Jersey and The Isle of Man.

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