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Fraser appeals for phone number portability

Julian Fraser. File photo

Julian Fraser. File photo

By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff

While declaring that he is tired of complaining about the relatively poor service being provided by telephone companies in the British Virgin Islands, member of the parliamentary opposition Julian Fraser today called for the introduction of mobile number portability in the territory.

Mobile number portability effectively enables persons to keep their mobile phone numbers whenever they change from one network carrier to another.

Fraser, in the House of Assembly today, noted that mobile number portability has been effective in a number of countries, adding that it is time for the British Virgin Islands to stop ignoring a ‘modern’ society’s call for the facility.

“The time is now when the TRC (Telecommunications Regulatory Commission) should mandate that a phone number belongs to the customer and not the carrier (phone company) so that the customer holds the number and walks with it to any carrier he wish. There is a good reason for that.”

“We have to get with the programme. This is something that has been happening in other parts of the world – decades now. We continue to ignore the needs of our people. We continue to ignore what modern societies call for. It got to stop,” added Fraser who once had ministerial responsibility for the telecoms industry.

He outlined the importance of mobile number portability.

“You can’t just cancel your phone or render your service down, because you have used that number for many important things – things that you don’t even remember. And, when people are trying to reach you on matters that are crucial, that’s the reference number that they have.”

Fraser said he wants to hear what the TRC has to say regarding the proposed introduction of mobile number portability in the territory.

“I would like to hear from the TRC as to what they are doing about this, because I am serious. I cannot continue to be coming here [in the House] and listening to my neighbours, listening to the community complaining about their phone service. I am not even talking about the internet, because I got fed up and I went to another carrier…”

“I don’t intend to be coming here time and time talking about something that can be resolved easily – it’s an easy fix. These are things that can be done – should be done, and I implore the minister for communication and works [Mark Vanterpool] to see to the TRC looking into these matters,” added Fraser.

He urged the TRC to be mindful of its responsibility to the public.

“The commission has a very important role to play in our lives and the development of the territory. I am not too sure whether it is that they don’t realize it or they are not being quite effective at it.”

“I know that they (TRC) came along at a time when the carriers were quite entrenched…and steeped into their ways – a monopoly a matter of fact, when the commission came about. So, in order to change habits, it will require some form of muscle. Whether or not the TRC wish to flex its muscle is the question,” Fraser further said.

He raised the issues while he contributed to the debate on a motion successfully moved in the House to extend the appointment of the current TRC Board of Directors headed by businessman Michael Thomas.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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13 Comments

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  1. Hah says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

    Good idea, next step should be forcing the telecom providers to provide the services that customers are paying for or be penalized.

    How many times must internet access be dropped per month but the bill still remain the same.

    Also who would have thought that after all the fighting for LTE spectrum that certain providers still can only offer 3G even if you have the latest and best cellphones.

  2. new satelite launched says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    GREAT IDEA!

  3. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

    This is a no brainer and should be a non political issue. It is now a standard practice in most developed service. Make it happen tomorrow.

    • Political Observer (PO) says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Correction……….should have read “developed countries”, not “developed service”.

    • Wont Work says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

      The way the numbering system is set up it will not work. Secondly the three telecoms won’t let it pass without a fight that is a fact

  4. Love this Idea says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    I love this idea. I was able to change my phone carrier many times in the UK while still having the same number and it was very convenient.

    • NO says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • Albion says:

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

        It is not that impractical. It is just switches and settings. But the TRC is lazy and inept, and the Telecoms companies try to crush anything which increases the ability of consumers to switch and hunt for the best deals.

        TRC, time for you to step up and start earning those inflated salaries.

  5. Reply says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    Absolutely agree with Mr. Frasier. Lack of phone number portability is not only beneficial for the reasons Mr. Frasier highlighted, but it also precludes competition in an important way.

    As it is right now, there will be those who will try to stay with a company longer than they would have wanted all because they do not wish to change their phone number which has been their primary way of phone contact.

    I dislike companies who policies are such that they do every thing in their power to keep you tethered to their services, all the while sometimes ripping you off with poor service.

    Customers should be free to move around with their established numbers without having to get a new one should they move to another carrier. Not being able to can be quite stressful and disruptive.

    As for the the three companies, what they should know is that if they provide a satisfactory service, people would continue using their services. There would be no need to keep them hooked by keeping your(their) numbers.

    This is nothing more than corporate tricks to keep you hooked to their services.

  6. JYD says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    yes get into the modern society not only with phones and cars but with business to lets see a Pay less Price mart radio shack and some fast foods subway burger king and lottery that modern day society

  7. I FROM HERE says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Yes we want this Fraser!

  8. Teets says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Fraser for PREMIER……………Dental! :-))

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