Despite number portability launching in South Africa in 2006, non-geographic number portability is still being delayed by Telkom, said ISPA.
The Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA) has drawn attention to the delay in rolling out this functionality, stating that it is impossible to port non-geographic numbers with prefixes such as 0800 and 0860 due to Telkom stalling the process.
“When it comes to the introduction of non-geographic number portability, Telkom has sadly reverted to its ‘bad old days’ persona after a promising start to the new millennium,” said ISPA chairman Graham Beneke.
“During recent public hearings into non-geographic number portability, Telkom’s industry peers and others had to suffer long-winded explanations from the former monopoly as to why it could not swiftly introduce non-geographic number portability. It can, and we all know it,” Beneke added.
Beneke argued that Telkom is stalling non-geographic number portability as this would result in it losing out to competitors if large companies and contact centres could switch networks while keeping their numbers.
Numbers that are easy for consumers to recall and which have been heavily-advertised at tremendous cost are especially contentious.
“No call centre that has invested significantly in its main inbound phone number is going to switch network operators without being able to retain this number so heavily linked to its brand,” Beneke said.
Beneke said that ISPA was ready to port non-geographic numbers, but that Telkom’s stalling of the regulations is preventing the porting of 087 numbers by ISPA.