Monday, April 17, 2006

Number portability and Virgin

Number portability is supposed to be implemented in South Africa from June 30.

The original deadline - December 2005 - has already passed. The fines for missing this deadline (R500,000 per operator) have been waived because of the late passing of the regulations.

Interestingly, Virgin Mobile plans to launch around June - the same timeframe, with the CEO of Virgin Mobile, Sajeed Sacranie, saying:
"We will do everything in our power to mitigate the pain [of moving to Virgin]."
"[Number portability is] a brilliant opportunity for consumers to shake the shackles off."

This suggests Virgin will
1) Buy out contracts to get customers to move to Virgin (the bulk of the expected R750m is to go to euphemistically-termed "customer acquisition programmes")
2) Punt number portability as a way of keeping customers happy (especially those with numbers already kept for years)

Virgin's partnership with Cell C (Cell C's 2nd infrastructure sharing partnership - after their launch partnership with Vodacom) will not stand in Virgin's way of being a direct competitor
(although they are both red? -Al)