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Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the Government is far advanced in implementing (telephone) number portability.

He noted that all three major telecommunications providers, Digicel, LIME and FLOW are in support of its implementation.

Addressing the House of Representatives on March 26, the Minister added that the stakeholders have been actively working with the Ministry as members of a Committee, which also included representatives from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

“We have concluded the public consultations, and Cabinet has approved the issuing of drafting instructions for the porting regulations. The procurement for the portability ordering and handling service provider is being conducted simultaneously with the drafting of the regulations,” Mr. Paulwell said.

Number portability is the ability of a consumer to transfer his or her telephone number to the telecoms carrier of his or her choice.

In the meantime, Mr. Paulwell has been appointed President of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union for a two-year term.

He noted that his leadership of this organisation will provide an opportunity for Jamaica to lead the discussion and assist in determining the direction of the region in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The Minister said that his first act as President is to call upon the regional mobile telecoms providers to eliminate roaming charges for inter-Caribbean calls on their networks.

“I am also calling on the telecoms providers to create and offer attractive and affordable packages for inter-Caribbean calls…These charges, both the high roaming rates and the high inter-Caribbean rates, present a barrier to Caribbean unity, by hindering affordable communication between residents of the region. If we are serious about creating one Caribbean, we must encourage more inter-Caribbean talk, trade and travel,” he argued.

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter