Welcome to numeric portability for mobile phones in Panama. Nowadays most people live on their mobile phones. Changing your mobile phone carriers becomes a hassle because you must call, text or email all your contacts and advise them of the change and those potential customers well…..
With the intense competition heating up among mobile carriers there are always new promotions, better plans, however many people hesitate trading in their carrier because at this time it is not possible to take your mobile phone number with you. When you change to a new carrier you get assigned a new number. In Panama mobile numbers are eight digits and at best your new carrier can offer to try and find you the same last four digits of your previous number but the first four constitute part of the range of number granted to each carrier for example Movistar numbers for contract mobile phones generally start with 61, Digicel 60, C&W 66 and so on.
All this is about to change and the mobile phone market will become truly open and based on competitive market forces not the consumer’s need to keep a certain number tied to a specific carrier. Numeric mobile phone portability should become a reality in Panama by the third quarter of 2010.
The Panamanian company ADR Technology in preparation for the public bids to be opened for companies seeking to provide numeric portability solutions has merged with Mexican company Stratus Technologies. With this merger ADR Technologies seeks to become one of the main consortiums specialized in numeric portability and equipment that has Continuous Availability and is Failure Tolerant. Stratus Technologies has successfully participated in similar bids in countries like Mexico and Dominican Republic. Once this is done Panama will be one of the few countries in Latin America to offer this possibility. The other countries that do it are Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru and Dominican Republic. This initiative will help solidify Panama´s position as an excellent place to do business as it guarantees true market competitively.
Numeric Portability for Mobile Phones in Panama is expected to cost approximately between US10 million to US15 million which will ultimately be paid by the end consumer in the form of a tax of $0.03 cents per month per mobile phone and per land line in the country.
Telecommunications companies are expected to upgrade their networks at a cost of around 8 to 10 million dollars. The government association which regulates public services will invest US2.5 million in new
computers and software and the users are expected to cover annually USD1.5 million for operating expenses and maintenance through the tax mentioned above. For contract mobile phone users that 3 cents will be added to the monthly invoice while users of prepaid mobiles will be charged every time they introduce a mobile phone card into their cell phone.
This is a long overdue process which mobile phone users have been asking for a long time ago. This among many other initiatives should improve Panama´s competitively rating in the international market.
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