Number portability refers to the ability of end-users subscribed to voice communications services to retain their phone number when they change to an alternative provider.
As from 1 June 2023 the number portability framework that has been in place locally since March 2005 is being enhanced. These updates are established in the MCA Decision Notice 'Number Portability in Malta' published in November 2022, and are necessary mainly to reflect new provisions introduced in national legislation following the transposition of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC).
The main updates included in the enhanced number portability framework are as follows:
- The donor operator, who provides service to an end-user before porting, is required to automatically terminate an end-user's respective contract upon successful porting. This applies regardless of whether this contract is for a single service or for a multi-service bundle.
- The recipient operator, who provides service to an end-user after porting, is required to inform end-users requesting porting that there may be implications on any other service contracted with the donor operator upon porting and it is the subscriber's responsibility to carry out checks with the donor operator prior to submitting a porting request.
- End-users may request the porting or reactivation of a recently terminated number, provided this request is raised with the local provider of their choice within one month from the date of service termination and subject to satisfying any other applicable eligibility criteria, including that they were registered with their former provider prior to service termination.
- The obligation on the donor operator not to apply any charges to end-users for number portability is being extended to also forbid the recipient operator from applying any charges.
- End-users subscribed to hybrid or pre-paid tariff plans have the right to request a refund of any unutilised monetary credit from the donor operator upon successful porting. A maximum refund fee of €5.00 may be charged by the donor operator to process the refund request if provided for in the contract or applicable pre-paid terms and conditions. Donor operators are required to allow end-users a minimum of two weeks from a successful porting of numbers associated with hybrid or pre-paid tariff plans to request such refunds.