The regulatory body said FNP will remove a significant barrier to customer choice and switching, encouraging competition in the fixed telephony market. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is conducting a public consultation on the implementation of Fixed Number Portability (FNP). FNP will allow customers to keep their fixed telephone number when changing service provider or location. In its “Implementation Of FNP In Malaysia” public consultation paper, MCMC asked 14 questions covering aspects such as the types of FNP services, costs to industry players, porting process and restrictions. The regulatory body said FNP will remove a significant barrier to customer choice and switching, encouraging competition in the fixed telephony market. It added that with the increasing popularity of bundled services, this could even influence the fixed broadband market. Also, several service providers have expressed interest in fixed line services and supported FNP implementation from as far back as 2016. This matter was brought up again when initiating the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) in October 2018, which was replaced by the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (Jendela). According to a feasibility study by Aetha Consulting Limited, commissioned by MCMC, there were 6.48 million landline telephone subscriptions as of end 2019, supported by an increase in Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) usage. The study also found the implementation of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has improved competition and quality of mobile services since being launched in 2008, following a public consultation process in 2005. It said demand for MNP has been high, with about one million requests being made every quarter since 2019, of which about half were approved. In the proposal, MCMC mulled enabling consumers to move from fixed to mobile numbers (service portability), which is possible in the United States, as it had a neutral numbering plan which does not distinguish between fixed and mobile services. Also, unlike Malaysia, phone call charges are borne by the receiving party in the US. Implementing service portability will require a major revamp to the interconnection and numbering plan, it said. Also, as this would disrupt the fixed-line services market, MCMC said it is not looking to add service portability at this juncture though it could save customers from needing multiple voice services on fixed and mobile plans. MCMC encouraged all interested parties to submit their proposals and answers via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) before the March 1 (12pm) deadline next year.
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