Number portability is suppose to be effected by all Mobile operators in Kenya by 1st April. There has been talk and also confusion on what should be done and how it should be done. Mr Mikhael Ghossein alluded to the fact that most operators might be ready but the problem is that not much technical tests have been done to check for any problems which might arise during the porting.

What you need to know is that the country, Kenya, will effect what is known as Full Mobile Number Portability (FMNP). You must not end the service with your current provider (Donor) without initiating service with your new provider (Recipient). You will pay Ksh 200 to your old provider. There will be a break in service when you port your number to a new provider. The break should not be more than 2 hours according to CCK.

Porting Access Kenya will be the company in charge of porting services and is the company which will have access to all cellular lines database. A technical aspect of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) is the routing of calls or mobile messages (SMS, MMS) to a number once it has been ported. There are various ways of call routing implementation across the globe but Kenya will do it via the use of a central database (CDB) of ported numbers which will resides with Porting Access Kenya.

PAUSE: I have just received mail from CCK director general that they have not seen any formal complaints or communication from an operator that they are not ready.

Orange Kenya CEO is worried that some big players might try to sabotage the migration of clients. Mr Ghossein also said that the consumer might also be confused in the beginning considering the fact that all operators have different ways of accessing services. Consumer education must follow by the operators but it would have been best if CCK issued a directive and have a unified coding so that the current consumer is not confused any more.

Operators have also said that they don’t think it will have much effect since the key issue has been cost and the costs have really gone down since last year. It would have made much sense if the service was introduced in June or October 2010 when there was a big difference in rates between operators. Operators also complain that there isn’t much clarity on how the process should be carried out.

Before 2008 it took a minimum of 5 working days to port a number in the UK compared to 2 hours only in USA, as low as 20 minutes in the Republic of Ireland, 3 minutes in Australia and even a matter of seconds in New Zealand. South Africa and Egypt have successfully implemented Number Portability in Africa. Telcordia technologies handles the database in both countries.

UPDATE: We wish to clarify that the porting fees will be paid to your new provider and not the old provider.