Thailand: Number portability

Last week number portability plans – which will allow mobile phone owners to retain an existing phone number when switching between operators – were announced in Thailand. Commonplace on western markets, Thailand has lagged behind a basic feature which gives mobile phone users more freedom and operators greater opportunity to attract new customer who no longer need worry about losing their number when switching.

Reuters has details of the move, due to come into practice later this year, which is an agreement between the country’s telecom operators.

Thailand’s five telecoms operators have formed a joint venture to set up a clearing house for number portability, which will allow mobile phone users to keep their numbers when shifting from one firm to another.

The five include market leader Advanced Info Service, second-ranked Total Access Communication, and number three True Move, a unit of True Corp. The other two are state-owned TOT PLC and CAT Telecom PCL.

Each company will own 20 percent each in Clearing House for Number Portability Co. Ltd, following a proposal by the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission.

The implementation of number portability, expected to take effect later this year, is a key step to liberalise the Thai telecoms sector and is expected to ignite fierce competition in the market.