Number portability – threat or opportunity? 


Usually operators, especially large incumbents, view number portability very negatively because of the high implementation and network improvement costs, a possible increase in the churn rate, and price wars. We agree that number portability is quite complicated from a technological, managing and marketing point of view, but this service also opens up new opportunities such as new methods of marketing, the possibility to attract new customers, and the possibility to increase loyalty among existing subscribers. 

Of course NP raises new challenges for operators such as new regulatory requirements, more competition in market, the introduction of new technologies. Operators should launch new systems, adopt business processes and teach employees. As was mentioned, number portability provides big opportunities, but can also be a big threat for unready operators and market providers. Late entrants can gain substantial benefits, but also can be held back by the competitive stress of large incumbent operators. They treat NP as a benefit and a possibility to gain new customers through awareness creation and attractive pricing, but it may sometimes be very costly.
 
Incumbents often oppose the implementation of NP, treating it as a marketing threat and a costs source without any return, defending their market share by various lock-in activities and loyalty programs. It seems that operators often overestimate the expected amount of number porting. 

Number portability may fuel churning, especially in certain segments, but it does not necessarily affect market shares. Number portability does not necessarily cause price competition, but in cases of a price war it might be catastrophic for the whole market.