Mobile number portability starts Jan. 16 in Chile

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Starting Jan. 16, Chileans mobile subscribers will be able to keep their original phone numbers when switching telephone operators. So-called mobile number portability will affect 25 million users, Chile’s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications estimates.

As part of number portability deployment, Chile’s Department of Telecommunications (Subtel) has approved a regulation issue which allows mobile phone users to ask their existing carriers to unlock their phones for free. In addition, all phones sold since Dec. 2 must be unlocked.

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Number portability is being unveiled in stages in Chile, beginning Dec. 5 in Arica, the first city to offer fixed number portability. Arica will be followed by Santiago on March 12 and Iquique, Antofagasta and Temuco in April. All Chilean cities will have number portability by August.

According to Subtel’s timetable, the number portability initiative will be completed Feb. 23, 2013, with law including VoIP, rural telefony and others telecom services.

In July, Telcordia was chosen from among four companies that submitted proposals to administer number portability in Chile. Telcordia was required to prove at least two years’ experience operating with software similar to Chile’s and show two successful implementations  of number portability, which the company did in Greece in 2004 and Mexico in 2008.

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