Mobile number portability has started in Iran, enabling more than 100 million mobile subscribers to change carriers without losing their numbers, according to a news report. The service should return power to the users and ensure better service, said Ali Asghar Amidian, the head of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Iran. According to the regulator, in the month-long beta phase, 11,000 users requested number porting. Of these, only 3,500 were accepted because of technical and other problems, such as inactive prepaid cards, unpaid bills and failure to authenticate.
Extending full choice of carriers to customers via number portability is key to creating and fostering a competitive mobile market. Iran is a latecomer in making this available, but better late than never, we say. The low numbers clearly indicate the underdevelopment of this market, especially the shortfall between the 11,000 who requested a porting and the 3,500 for whom it was actually feasible. Iran has a long way to go, but it is moving forward, and this move from the state regulator may well presage a more vibrant mobile market to come.