As of this week cellphone customers will be able to keep their phone numbers when they change providers in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Cellphone customers in St. Kitts and Nevis will now be able to take their phone numbers with them when they change service providers, after an announcement by the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL).

ECTEL said that as of Monday, customers would have mobile number portability launched in five member states, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as St. Kitts and Nevis.

“Mobile number portability enables consumers to keep their current mobile telephone numbers when switching from one mobile telephone operator to another. This service removes the inconvenience of phone users having to inform their contacts, family and friends of a new number after changing their mobile service provider,” said ECTEL in a statement.

ECTEL Council Member and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications, Honourable Vincent Byron said customers anticipate that mobile number portability will improve overall quality of service.

“People are excited that they now have the option to pick between providers they consider are giving the best service. I think this has been some time in coming and does put more focus on the quality of service that is provided by individual providers,” said Byron.

The mobile number portability project began in 2015 with a decision by the ECTEL Council of Ministers to implement local number portability.  The introduction of MNP means that consumers can now select their cellhphone providers based on issues such as service quality, service offerings and price.

Byron said mobile number portability will be beneficial not only to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, but to the region.

It is important to note, of course, that it does not mean that because you can now port that you can go to another island to get a service provider in a different island. You have to stay within your own jurisdiction. It is not related to roaming at all. It has to do with being able to pick between the various providers on your island to see the best service that you can get from that individual. And I know this is something our citizens, our consumers, look forward to. I am sure that will be something very beneficial to everyone throughout our ECTEL region,Byron said.

Mobile Number Portability will be available to post-paid and pre-paid mobile consumers of all service providers within the ECTEL region, as long as the customer’s number has not been barred, restricted, suspended, or handsets reported stolen or lost to the current provider.

There will be no charges for number porting.  All porting or switching charges will be met by the service provider.  However, the current provider may charge for the new SIM card and unlocking the customer’s handset, before the number is ported.