Economy, Sci & Tech

Mobile Network Switching Hits Hurdles

Mobile Network Switching Hits HurdlesMobile Network Switching Hits Hurdles

Nine days after the official launch of Mobile Number Portability services in Iran, a deputy at Iran’s Communications Regulatory Authority elaborated on the number of users that have attempted to switch operator.

MNP allows cellphone users to retain their numbers while changing from one mobile network operator to another, which is available in several other markets.

The low-key pilot phase of MNP services was officially launched on July 11, Mehr News Agency reported.

Days after the service was launched, Sadeq Abbasi Shahkouh noted that nearly 2,500 users had filed requests to swap networks while certain problems emerged within the system.

Users, who want to swap networks, must log on to the website of the operator in use and file a request, which is implemented in three days.

In the pilot phase, it was announced that only 500 requests could be processed daily, but the official noted that after the removal of hurdles, the cap will increase to 750.

Shahkouh said the limit is in place so that the process can be closely monitored at all times to identify and eradicate any shortcomings and eventually prepare for the full commercial launch.

Once a request is filed, the user’s balance is checked and given 48 hours to settle debts. The process resumes once this is done.

One of the problems, he added, was that the old SIM cards were cut off from the system before new ones were delivered, which problem has now been fixed.

The official said an unlimited number of requests can be registered once the service operates successfully.

Mobile operators have been prohibited from advertising MNP services during the pilot phase and will be allowed to do so once the problems are addressed and the situation is stabilized.

However, that rule is not in place for advertising on their own websites, which is the case with MTN-Irancell.

He noted that all three operators, MCI, MTN-Irancell and RighTel had received roughly the same number of requests during this period.

“There were no problem with regard to the networks,” he said. “We have also prepared an electronic rating sheet for users so that we can know which areas still need to be improved.”

Shahkouh further said uniform guidelines are being prepared for the operators that should be communicated to users.

There is also a limit to the facility, such that users can switch networks only twice a year.

The MNP service is likely to act in a more substantial way when several new Virtual Network Mobile Operators enter the market in the coming year, with many likely offering special offers and low prices.