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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 16 April 2008

Full mobile number portability in Singapore from 13 June 2008


Singapore To Enjoy Full Mobile Number Portability From 13 June
Come 13 June, Singapore’s mobile subscribers will enjoy Full Mobile Number Portability[1], and with this, greater benefits in terms of flexibility and choice of subscription plans as competition among mobile operators is expected to intensify. Currently, Singapore’s mobile subscription stands at more than 5.8 million.
The Full Mobile Number Portability solution will replace the current solution where a mobile subscriber holds two numbers, so that calls to his old number are Call-Forwarded to a new one. Singapore mobile subscribers were one of the first in the world to enjoy mobile number portability through this Call-Forwarding solution when it was launched here in 1997[2].
When implemented from 13 June, Full Mobile Number Portability will allow anyone who wishes to keep their current number when they switch mobile operator, to do so by the next working day. This spares them the hassle of updating their family, friends, and business contacts about a new number.
Today, with advances in technology, Full Mobile Number Portability allows a mobile subscriber who has switched operator to:
  • Retain full use of his mobile number, which will continue to appear on his contact’s Caller-ID when he makes a call or uses the Short Message Service (SMS)/Multi-Media Message Service (MMS)

  • Continue receiving MMSes on his number from his previous mobile operator
Pre-paid mobile subscribers can now also enjoy the same benefits of retaining their numbers when they switch mobile operator.
IDA Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms) Leong Keng Thai said: “Full Mobile Number Portability is expected to bring about a sea-change in Singapore’s mobile market. Consumers will be empowered with greater flexibility to choose from the offerings from mobile operators. This in turn intensifies competition and pushes the operators to work harder to attract and retain their customers. As we can expect to see more competitive pricing or better value-for-money mobile service deals, even those who choose to remain with their current mobile operator should benefit. We can expect even more exciting times ahead for our mobile market with Full Mobile Number Portability, and consumers will be the biggest winners.”
Full Mobile Number Portability is also expected to open the doors to new business opportunities for non-traditional telecommunication service providers like wireless broadband providers and Voice-Over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers. Its centralised database infrastructure will be well-placed to facilitate the entry of new players and evolution of new capabilities and services in today’s converged voice and data space.
Call-Forwarding Ported Mobile Subscribers to Migrate to Full Mobile Number Portability From 22 April 2008
There are about 130,000 mobile subscribers who have ported their numbers under the current Call-Forwarding solution. As the new Full Mobile Number Portability will kick-in from 13 June, this group of subscribers will be involved in a migration exercise, which will start from 22 April 2008.
As part of the migration exercise, from 22 April 2008, these subscribers will be contacted by their current mobile operators, who will advise them on the migration procedures. Mainly, these subscribers will need to:
  • Decide by 14 May 2008 which number to keep - either the old number from the previous mobile operator (N1) or the new number issued by the current mobile operator (N2), otherwise N2 will be assigned to them by default.

  • If relevant, consider informing their contacts about their choice of number ahead of 13 June 2008, to continue to be reachable.
(Please also refer to Annex A: “Migration Exercise Timeline”.)
The migration of mobile subscribers on the current number portability solution to Full Mobile Number Portability will be completed by 13 June 2008, when the new solution is available for all consumers to use.
IDA has been working closely with the industry to bring Full Mobile Number Portability to the market, and will continue to monitor the final steps towards its launch. Consumers can also refer to the Frequently-Asked-Questions on Full Mobile Number Portability on IDA ( and the respective operators’ websites, to find out more about this new solution and its benefits.

[1] Full Mobile Number Portability is a solution that allows consumers to keep one mobile number for life, even when they switch operators. It works via a central database system in a multi-operator environment, in which all ported mobile subscribers’ numbers and routing information are kept. When a call/SMS/MMS is made to a ported mobile subscriber under the solution, the caller’s mobile operator will check against the central database information and route the call/SMS/MMS directly to the ported subscriber’s new operator.

[2] A Brief History of Number Portability in Singapore:
  April 1997: Singapore was one of the first in the world to introduce Mobile Number Portability, via a Call Forwarding solution.
  April 2000: Fixed-Number Portability introduced, along with full liberalisation of Singapore's telecoms market.
  June 2003: IDA issued direction to the mobile operators to cease recurring monthly porting fees and to provide SMS portability.
  August 2006: IDA issued decision to enhance to a Full Mobile Number Portability solution. With it, a subscriber who has switched operators need not update his contacts as they will still see his existing number when he calls or SMSes.
  November 2006: IDA issued a Request-For-Proposal (RFP) for a Centralised Database Administrator to implement Full Mobile Number Portability.
  June 2007: IDA appointed Syniverse Technologies as the Centralised Database Administrator.
  January 2008: IDA issued direction to operators to cease recurring monthly porting fees for fixed line telephony.
  April 2008: Singapore begins the final leg towards Full Mobile Number Portability, with operators moving mobile subscribers under the current Call-Forwarding solution over to the Full Mobile Number Portability solution.
  13 June 2008: Singapore to have Full Mobile Number Portability solution to benefit all consumers.

Source: News Release 16 Apr 2008

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