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Kenya yet to embrace mobile no. portability

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Nairobi - Kenya is not yet ready for the implementation of Mobile Number Portability, mobile operator Telkom Kenya, (Orange) chief executive officer Mr. Mickael Ghossein has said.
Mobile number portability (MNP) enables mobile phone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another one of choice and the Kenyan telecoms regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya, (CCK) had earlier said its implementation would start next month. (April 1).
But according to Mr. Ghossein none of the country's four operators which include Airtel Kenya, Safaricom, Essar telecoms (Yu), are ready yet for its implementation ahead of the approaching April 1 timeline.
Mr. Ghossein who spoke in Nairobi on Monday when the mobile operator launched a new hybrid voice and internet service targeted at up market residential home users claimed that none of the operators is yet to install and put up the appropriate infrastructure to ensure the porting of numbers would run smoothly by next month.
"Nobody is ready," said Mr. Ghossien at a press briefing. "We, (operators) are typically working (towards its implementation) but to make it happen we should test between operators which hasn't happened by now."
He added: "Am not sure it'll be ready before the 1st of April."
MNP is expected to help enhance more competition among the operators as well as improve the quality of services offered to Kenyan subscribers by availing them with more choice.
Already the Kenyan telecoms industry is marked by cutthroat competition amongst the operators following a move by CCK, in August last year to lower the interconnection fees charged by mobile phone network operators by half which in turn drastically lowered subscriber costs.
The interconnection fee is the amount an operator pays another for routing traffic through their networks in data and voice services. The new service launched by Orange, dubbed Orange Double Play, and which can offer higher capacity and superior internet speeds of up to 8 MB/s to Telkom Orange customers, integrates Orange's fixed line service with a fibre network.
Clients will access Orange Double Play through fibre optic cable with the last mile connections to their homes and offices offered through copper.
 Ghossein hailed the launch of the new service saying it would offer internet and telephone users more reliable and unprecedented high quality services.
"By integrating our copper and fibre infrastructure, our new bouquet of Orange Double Play offers that we are unveiling today are undoubtedly set to exceed the voice and data communication expectations of our customers," he said.
He added: "With speeds of up to 8MB per second, we now have a network easily scalable to transmit video signals just like it happens in the developed countries," he said. "We are already in talks with partners to see Orange introduce Triple Play services in future."
While revealing that the number of cable cuts experienced by the operator had significantly come down over several months,  Ghossein noted that the new service will enable the operator to go round the perennial problem associated with the cable cuts and in turn enhance service reliability since fibre optic cables, which are used for most of the connections in the new service, take shorter time to repair as opposed to copper cables.
The service cost the operator over Kshs 10 million to put up and is now only available for the operator's customers based in the up market Muthaiga residence but Mr. Ghossein said the operator would expand the service based on its uptake in the area. "Today we are launching Orange Double Play to serve residents and business in Muthaiga and its environs; however we will soon roll this out further afield to other areas. With our defined last mile solution redundant loop we have now achieved our dream of delivering true broadband to Kenyan homes," he said.
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