NUMBER PORTABILITY

DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

Number portability (NP) solution implementation in any country is complicated as it must meet the requirements of the regulating institution, be acceptable and viable both for large and small telecommunication operators and service providers, guarantee equal access and, most importantly, number portability must be attractive to the user in order to promote competition in the market. 
Number portability process might be divided into three main steps:

1. Port initiation. Port initiation might be led by the donor or by the recipient. Commonly the recipient-led process is chosen. 
2. Exchange of porting information. It might be manual, automated and centralized. During the past 10 years the centralized solution has been more common. 
3. Re-routing. It might be organized with an on-switch solution or off-switch solution. Commonly the off-switch solution is chosen.

All of these three steps are required, independently of which the number portability solution is chosen. Also, different solutions might be applied in each of these steps and all these steps are related to each other. A number portability service is a network service, the realization of which is impossible without correct routing. Theoretically, four routing schemes are possible in number portability solution. 

 Portability routing schemes:

1. All Call Query (ACQ) – the call originating operator always checks a centralized database and determines the route of a call. This scheme is mostly efficient for large, interconnected networks with a high porting number.

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2. Query on Release (QoR) – call originating operator firstly checks with the operator to which the number initially belonged (donor operator). The donor operator verifies the call and informs that the number doesn’t belong to him. Originating operator then checks the centralized database and determines the route of call. This scheme is best suited for low volumes of ported numbers.

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3. Onward Routing (OR) – the call originating operator checks with the donor operator. The donor operator checks its own database and determines the new call route. The operator which initially owned the number routes call the new operator themselves. This model of routing also is known as indirect routing and is normally used in the early stages of number portability implementation when there aren’t many ported numbers.

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