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Bulgaria mobile operators clinch wireless number portability deal

Date: 27.02.2008

Bulgaria's three mobile operators have signed a framework agreement to make available wireless number portability between networks, the telecoms watchdog announced.

The domestic wireless carriers Mobiltel, Globul and Vivatel, are obliged to implement the portability rules within two weeks, the Communications Regulation Commission said without making it clear when the service will be launched.

"The three companies made a number of concessions in the process of negotiations with the only goal to start the service on time and in the interest of the clients," the regulator said in its statement even though the launch has already been delayed by more than a year.

Bulgaria had to implement wireless number portability between networks as soon as it joined the EU on January 1, 2007 but just ten days later Mobiltel, the country's dominant wireless telecom carrier refused to join the agreement already signed by its two competitors GloBul and Vivatel.

The saga went on for the entire year, with the telecoms regulator intervening in August to speed up proceedings, but to no avail, giving the European Commission reason to start infringement procedures against Bulgaria over its telecoms regulator lacking independence and effectiveness in November last year.

According to experts, cited by Dnevnik daily, the service is expected to become available at end-March or early-April.

The switch will be done during the night for the convenience of the clients and will take no more than seven hours, during which clients will not be able to use their phones.

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