'Cheating' Bulgarian Mobile Operators at Odds over Number Portability

Business | September 20, 2010, Monday // 20:14|  views

Bulgaria's three mobile phone operators are at odds over the number portability procedure. File photo

Bulgaria's three mobile telephone operators – M-Tel, Globul, and Vivacom – have exchanged accusations over who is to blame for delays in the implementation of number portability regulations.

In a statement, Bulgaria's largest mobile operator M-Tel has accused its greatest competitor Globul of "double standards" with respect to the number portability procedures as it allegedly sought to hinder the service for those clients seeking to leave it for another operator.

"After the start of the one-stop-shop number portability procedure, only about 10% of the clients wishing to go from Globul to M-Tel have been transferred. Globul is the operator which refuses to its clients the right to transfer their numbers to another company using arguments such as the fact that the consumer had changed their ID, and the number of their new ID card did not correspond to the number that Globul has," says the M-Tel statement.

The one-stop-shop number portability procedure was formally introduced on August 6, 2010, in order to help customers who want to change their operator but keep their number. The previously existing procedure had been considered too cumbersome, and allowing the mobile companies to prevent their unsatisfied clients from leaving them.

The major novelty in the procedure is the fact that the client is now required to apply for number portability only with the receiving operator, which is supposed to take care of the entire transaction, while earlier the consumer was supposed to deal with both companies.

The head of the Bulgarian mobile phones regulator, the Communications Regulation Commission, Veselin Bozhkov, announced on Monday that any problems with the number portability procedure between the three mobile phone operators will be fixed by October 1, 2010.

The CRC said that it had received 73 complaints from clients about the procedure after its introduction on August 6. It has threatened to impose fines of up to BGN 100 000 to the companies which violate the legislation.

"The problem is that M-Tel as well as BTC (aka Vivacom) and partly Globul all have technical difficulties with this procedure even though we gave them a four-month period to adjust to that. I would say that all telecoms are trying to cheat using various ways and means," Bozhkov declared.

In his words, 31 of the consumer complaints were against Mtel, while each Globul and Vivacom faced 20 complaints.

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Tags: Veselin Bojkov, Veselin Bozhkov, CRC, Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), Vivacom, Globul, M-Tel, mobile operators, mobile phones, number portability, telecom, telecommunications


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