Virtually all of the mobile operators are complying with the requirements for number portability (taking one’s own telephone number from one provider to another). This is evident from the reports which these providers are required to submit to OPTA. Only Debitel has forfeited a penalty amounting to NLG 400,000.00.
OPTA has made this decision now that objections filed against a conditional penalty relating to number portability have been rejected. Such a conditional penalty had applied to nine mobile operators since 1 February 2000. These nine providers are KPN, Libertel, Telfort, Dutchtone, Ben, ANWB, Talkline, IMC and Debitel. It should be easy for consumers to take their telephone number with them, if they switch providers. This is supposed to occur on the date arranged with the new provider in the case of 95% of all applications. These mobile operators failed to comply with this. After the conditional penalty had been imposed, they lodged objections against that decision. These objections have now been dismissed.
Number portability is important in order to facilitate competition between providers, especially those offering mobile phone services. After all, if number retention proceeds smoothly, it will be easier for consumers to switch to a competitor. Certainly, as soon as the mobile phone market is saturated, number portability will play an important role, because providers will no longer focus on new customers but on those of their competitors.