In a significant development for telecommunications in Guyana, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has announced the impending launch of Number Portability, scheduled to provide consumers with greater freedom and options in their choice of service providers.

The telecommunications landscape in Guyana underwent a pivotal transformation on October 5, 2020, with the liberalization of the sector. This shift marked the promise of improved service quality, competitive rates, and a wider array of choices for consumers.

At the heart of this transformation lies Number Portability, a cornerstone of liberalization aimed at fostering competition and empowering consumers. Once implemented, Number Portability will enable subscribers to switch service providers while retaining their existing telephone numbers.

As the regulatory authority overseeing the telecommunications sector, the Commission has taken on the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of Number Portability in Guyana. To fulfill this mandate, the Commission said it has established a dedicated Number Portability Working Group (NPWG). Chaired by a Commission Member, the NPWG includes representatives from all major telecommunications service providers, namely GTT Inc., Digicel, and ENet, along with the Telecommunications Agency.

The PUC plays a pivotal role in telecommunications licenses, issuing telephone numbers, and regulating the spectrum for both mobile and wireless radio communication.

Key to the technical aspect of this process is the Clearinghouse service provider. Porting XS, a Netherlands-based Clearinghouse provider licensed in Guyana, has been entrusted with the task of administering Number Portability services to the telecommunications providers. Porting XS will manage the central database containing telephone numbers and oversee which numbers can be ported at the request of consumers.

While the Commission had initially anticipated an earlier launch date for Number Portability, certain delays, including the licensing of the Clearinghouse provider and the completion of meticulous processes, particularly porting tests among service providers, have affected several critical milestones.

Currently, live testing of numbers among the service providers is an ongoing and vital phase of the implementation process. This involves intricate procedures such as interconnecting with the Clearinghouse provider, exchanging telephone numbers for porting tests, and certifying each completed test.

Additionally, configuring call routing when a number is ported to another service provider and testing short message signals (SMS) during the porting process all contribute to the establishment of best practices for a seamless Number Portability system in Guyana.

Nevertheless, the commission sought to assure the public of its unwavering commitment to actively participating in and monitoring each testing phase and that it remains dedicated to ensuring the successful implementation of Number Portability. The Commission acknowledged the importance of assigned telephone numbers, especially mobile numbers, which have become integral to individuals’ identities as contact points for social media and other digital platforms.

As Guyana progresses towards the realisation of Number Portability, the Commission said it pledges to provide regular updates to the general public, including the official launch date.

This initiative it said promises to revolutionize telecommunications in Guyana, offering consumers newfound freedom and convenience in their choice of service providers, while preserving the vital connection that telephone numbers have become in today’s digital world.


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