Telecoms off to Promising Start Following Number Portability FinalisationPublished on: 2022-01-18
South Africa’s telecoms sector is off to a promising start in 2022 with the finalisation by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) of the number portability framework and the provision of a firm commencement date.
This is according to South Africa’s Independent Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) which has for a decade and a half been calling for the full implementation of number portability. That call was finally heard and ICASA on 15 December 2021 published the relevant Number Portability Regulations in the Government Gazette.
Most importantly, ICASA proclaimed that the Number Portability Regulations will come into force on 07 March 2022. From this date local businesses, NGOs and call centres can change to a different service provider without having to change their 0800, 0860 or 087 number.
Further good news is the fact that ICASA also finalised the technical details of how number portability will actually work in its amendments to the Ordering System Specification.
“This welcome news also signals to business and consumers the necessity of holding off on entering into further long-term agreements with providers. This is because the full implementation of number portability will soon see greater competition in providing telecoms services when it comes to non-geographic phone numbers,” says ISPA regulatory advisor, Dominic Cull.
“The new two months will be an opportunity to investigate deals and determine if you’re getting the best service and value offering from your incumbent provider,” adds Cull.
Prior to ICASA’s December 2021 announcement the issue around number portability was that while one million geographic numbers and eight million mobile numbers had been ported in SA, it remained impossible to port non-geographic numbers used by local businesses, non-profit organisations and consumers for toll-free, shared-cost, premium rate and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services (i.e. numbers starting with 0800, 0860, 0861, 0862 and 087).
This inexplicable delay has now been dealt with and industry and the Number Portability Company (NPC) stand ready to port non-geographic numbers from 07 March 2022.
For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.