The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has reaffirmed its commitment to the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP), despite the fact that it is now well over two years since the watchdog’s original target date for the implementation of the service, which allows subscribers to change provider while keeping their original phone number. The authority’s public relations manager, Innocent Mungy, has told local newspaper the Guardian that discussions are still ongoing with the country’s mobile operators, Vodacom, Tigo, Airtel, Zantel and Tanzania Telecommunication Company Ltd (TTCL). Mungy commented: ‘We have not introduced the service because some requirements have not been met. But I want to assure the people that the service is underway and will be in operation as soon as we clinch the agreement.’
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the original target given by the TCRA for the launch of MNP was December 2011, but mobile operators requested a postponement to June 2012, and the measure was subsequently pushed back again by the watchdog in November 2012 when TCRA director John Nkoma revealed that the government now planned to introduce number portability in 2013, giving the network operators time to upgrade their infrastructure to cater for the change. By late-2013, however, the watchdog had still to select a company to oversee the number clearing-house system, despite opening the call for applicants in April that year. It now seems likely that MNP will finally be implemented in the second half of 2014. For its part, the TCRA hopes that – when it finally launches – the new regime will increase competition among local mobile service providers, ultimately improving quality of service (QoS) levels and reducing prices of tariff plans.