Mobile users oblivious to number portability plan

15 Jul 2003

Most Irish mobile phone users – 71pc – are not aware of full mobile number portability (FMNP), despite the fact that it is due for launch in Ireland next week. It will allow Irish mobile phone users to switch to a different network provider and still keep their existing number, including the prefix, whether it is 085, 086 or 087.

FMNP is being introduced by all network operators on 25 July. It could lead to increased customer churn in the Irish marketplace and greater choice for phone owners. However, it has greater significance for the second and third mobile operators O2 and Meteor, who are anxious to close the gap on Vodafone, which holds pole position in the Irish market.

According to research commissioned by O2, more than 71pc of Irish mobile phone owners are unaware that FMNP – described by the operator as the largest private sector logistical project ever implemented in Ireland – is actually happening. All the operators are investing in a system that will enable FMNP to happen. O2 itself has invested €7m to date in the project.

The company surveyed 600 people in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford and found that 55pc of mobile users would switch network if it meant they could get better value for money and retain their old mobile number.

The survey found that those mobile users living in Limerick were best informed on FMNP, with some 55pc expressing some knowledge of the scheme.

By John Kennedy