Local Number Portability live and free in Barbados now Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Telecoms customers in Barbados can now switch or hop from service provider to service provider without facing financial consequences and take their mobile or fixed telephone numbers with them as well.

After 22 years, local number portability is now a reality for customers on island.

we are very keen on ensuring that consumers have the best experience

At today’s launch event held at Courtyard by Marriott, Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology (MIST) David Ishmael told the audience comprising senior officials from Digicel Barbados and Cable & Wireless Barbados Ltd, as well as other government officials from the MIST team, members of the Fair Trading Commission and consultants Northpoint:

“I am elated to announce that Barbados’ telecommunications sector has come of age. This government, your government, has delivered on its promise to introduce Local Number Portability to Barbados. The ability for customers to be able to make an unfettered choice of one service provider over another – a fundamental consumer right – is now possible…

“In simple terms, Local Number Portability, is the ability to keep the same telephone number when changing service providers. With the introduction of Local Number Portability, consumers who wish to retain their number while changing their provider can enter any Digicel or Flow retail store and request that their mobile and/or fixed, landline telephone number be ported away from their current service provider to the new provider.”

And the minister stressed that this process is supposed to be painless, hassle-free and free of cost.

“It is anticipated that such a request [to switch networks] will be completed within 24 hours, in the case of a transaction involving a mobile number; whereas with a fixed, land line, number – within five days.

“The facility, which is absolutely free to customers in Barbados, will remove the hassle and inconvenience of having to inform your contacts such as family, friends, colleagues, customers, and clients that your telephone number has been changed.

“Prior to the advent of Local Number Portability, changing a phone number was an unavoidable consequence of changing your service provider. Worst yet, switching providers also resulted in oftentimes significant switching costs that burdened each of us as consumers and our avoidance of this hassle effectively reduced competition within and amongst the telecoms players.”

The power is now in my hands. I’m the consumer

And he gave the assurance to the Barbados customers that both service providers are committed to make any transitions smooth and easy.

“All the stakeholders present here today have agreed that we are very keen on ensuring that consumers have the best experience when activating and navigating this process.”

Digicel Barbados CEO Natalie Abrahams in her remarks said, “Customers and businesses have the freedom to move with their numbers and make choices in service provider that align with their specific needs in relation to value, reliability and service. Digicel continues to believe that Barbadians deserve modern technology and access to it freely. So we continue to optimise, and invest in our network, innovate our products and work with the business community to create customized ICT solutions that meet their growing needs. We are very, very, very thankful to our existing Digicel customers for choosing Digicel every day and we are happy and pleased to invite wider Barbados to exercise this new freedom to stream, share and connect on the network of their choice – Digicel’s network, faster and reliable. We are happy to welcome all.”

Cable & Wireless Barbados Country Manager Desron Bynoe said, “Today we are proud to be working together with our industry partners to deliver yet another historical initiative for Barbados. This has been a complex project, but today’s introduction of Local Number Portability…is a direct testament to the strength and cohesion of our domestic telco sector… We fully appreciate and understand the importance of a true and open telco market with cost-effective, reliable connections at its heart.”

Encouraging persons to put the new feature to the test and switch, Bynoe reassured persons, “The process is very simple.”

And the MIST Permanent Secretary urged Barbadians to realise that with this launch, the power has returned to the customer.

“This is indeed a truly momentous and groundbreaking occasion, Local Number Portability promises to be a turning point not only for telecom providers – Digicel Barbados Limited and Cable & Wireless Barbados Limited, but for the entire country of Barbados…The power is now in my hands. I’m the consumer. I can switch from provider to provider. I can swap you out. I can finish with you for any reason or for no reason at all without consequence. I feel very powerful.

“In this context, Local Number Portability will boost efficiency, innovation and ultimately consumer welfare.”