Those without handphone might as well chuck themselves off the national census, so popular thinking would dictate.
And for such a precious service, we are forced to contend with live without number portability. The oddity in it.
Mobile number portability is the facility of changing your phone service provider, but not change your number – which is the biggest impediment to people to people who want to move service providers.
So if you are have a 012 prefixed number, which is under Maxis, you can move to Digi or Celcom without needing to lose your prefix number or your other digits too.
This will engender true market competition, and what bad can come from that?
The players and the played
Maxis and Celcom are based in Malaysia, but their operations are wide and expansive all across Asia. Maxis, Aircel in India and NTS in Indonesia; and Celcom has Excelcommindo in Indonesia, Spice in India and additionally in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, Thailand and Singapore.
They are regional players and Digi is already an international player being foreign based.
So if these companies are free to look for the best deals and partners all across the world to enhance their value, why are Malaysians straight-jacketed on what they think is best value?
One rule for corporations and another for us poorer lot?
Energy, Water and Communications Ministry secretary-general Halim Man assured us in Nov that the government was in the final process of testing Mobile Number Portability, and that we are likely to see it implemented in April, pending the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) go ahead.
This is July, and no news from anyone. Perhaps if enough of us write to both bodies, something will happen.
It is likely that the power of lobby from the main two players, maxis and celcom is holding back the implementation. They probably have the most to lose since many of their subscribers are likely to move to Digi, rather than Digi losing their base to them.
There are technical issues with number portability as in the fact numbers are gotten by phone companies in blocks and when they transfer service to another provider, all those involved have to be in the know.
But it is a reality in countries like the United States, Britain, Australia and Japan. In the US you have total portability, which includes land lines too.
No caveats please
Corporations in Malaysia are so used to just applying hidden charges, I fear once they agree to number portability the service providers will charge a substantial amount for service transfer.
There are many downsides to the rapid globalisation occurring, and the less wealthy have learned to live with the new rules of engagement since the rules are made by others. However it is just a little rough to expect us to pay the price of change but not benefit from the changes, number portability in this instance.
I can’t wait to walk into a Celcom centre, deal with quite amiable people who have no clue about the finer elements of the phone contract they have put you through, except say , ” it is company policy sir.” I’ll tell them I am no more learned about their esteemed policies and therefore I am kindly removing my business with them.
While we are at it, can the Malaysian government allow other mobile companies to open business here, that would be nice.
They say numbers are written in the skies, so let us keep ours indefinitely.