The UK government’s telecommunications watchdog Oftel says it has won the agreement of all four UK mobile operators to implement number portability between carriers by 1 January 1999. The agreement means that users will be able to keep their number when they switch operators. Currently, mobile phone users cannot take their number with them if they change operators, which Oftel views as an effective barrier to competition. The four mobile phone operators – Cellnet, Vodafone, Orange and One2One – have now agreed to license modifications requiring them to offer number portability by 1 January 1999. In 1996, the UK introduced number portability for fixed network residential and business customers. It has also introduced number portability for specially tariffed services such as freephone. In April 1997, Oftel proposed modifications to all fixed operators’ licenses, to incorporate new provisions requiring them to provide number portability to other operators on a reciprocal basis for geographic and non-geographic numbers.
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