At long last, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is now available on a limited basis commencing today, 29 August 2008, as announced here.
Until mid-September 2008, pre-paid mobile phone users in Klang Valley may change their mobile phone service providers, if they wish, and still keep their mobile phone numbers. Later, post-paid users will also enjoy the service.
Nationwide roll-out is expected in October 2008.
MNP will surely increase the competition between the telcos i.e. Maxis, Celcom, Digi and U-Mobile. Consumers may end up as winners as these mobile phone service providers will have to reduce their pricing and make their packages really attractive.
I have been using my number since Maxis launched its services in mid-1990s. I thought that their level of services has somehow deteriorated after the company was privatised (i.e. no longer listed on the stock exchange), and with the resignation of Datuk Jamal.
I am thinking of changing to Celcom. If they can get their act together and market their Celcom 3G mobile broadband together with Streamyx and Telekom fixed line, they will be my choice.
But, as usual, I would rather wait until the dusts settle. Changing the service provider while maintaining your existing phone number seems to be a good proposition. But somehow or rather, I think there will be hiccups. That’s why only 100 requests will be entertained per day during the initial period.
The other thing that I am actually eagerly waiting for is the WiMax services. I think WiMax would be a more credible mobile broadband platform in terms of mobility, stability in services and rate of data transfers. However, since WiMax licensees in Malaysia are relative smaller telco players, I think they will be taken over by the bigger boys in years to come. Malaysia had given 2.5GHz spectrum licenses much earlier but the government had decided to abort the roll-out. If not for Lim Keng Yeak, the then-Minister in charge of telco, WiMax would have been thriving in Malaysia, via 2.5GHz spectrum.
In the USA, 2.5GHz WiMax is currently the biggest segment assigned. And they are still struggling to get consensus on the 2.3GHz protocol standard. Selection of protocol standard will have an effect on Malaysia’s WiMax operators as US would be the biggest market for WiMax equipment, and thus eventually affect the cost of WiMax in Malaysia.
Technology keeps changing at an incredibly fast pace. May be in the near future, with WiMax or other technology platform, voice transfers will be free of charge. With the availability of mobile broadband, consumers will be charged based on data transfers. Skype-liked devices will be used for telephone conversation as well as email and text messaging.