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Portability of mobile phone numbers to be introduced in Bulgaria in spring 2008

Date: 08.11.2007

In spring 2008 the clients of Bulgaria's telecommunications companies MobilTel (M-Tel), GloBul and Vivatel would be able to change their mobile services provider without changing their mobile phone number, Monitor daily said. This would lead to a decrease in the costs of mobile services.

On November 1 M-Tel's technical director Nikolai Kirchev announced that the portability of mobile phone numbers would be introduced in Bulgaria during the first three months of 2008.

Before the end of November 2007 the Bulgarian Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) would adopt the necessary functional specifications as main rules for the portability, said Tsvetelina Sevlievska, a director in the commission. She added that Bulgaria was facing the danger of being sanctioned for not introducing the portability of mobile phone numbers within the time frames agreed.

Sevlievska said the deadline for creating an unified database was July 1, 2008 so the mobile operators had to reach an agreement. If they could not do that, then the CRC would interfere.

Purvan Rusinov from Vivatel said the main advantage of portability was that it would lead to a decrease in mobile services' prices by stimulating the competition between operators.

Some time ago Vivatel and GloBul informed the CRC that they were ready to transfer mobile phone numbers in between their networks. They invested 3 million euro to that aim and M-Tel invested 5 million leva.

The service of changing operators without changing the mobile phone number will be performed in 10 days. The technical part itself takes 7 hours.

A research by Alfa Research agency, however, shows that although 77 per cent of those asked said it would be nice to have the portability option, only 21 per cent of mobile phone owners would change their operator when it is introduced.

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