Complex Made Simple

Majority of UAE residents will change mobile operators after MNP

Survey reveals 34 per cent is considering the switch


With the much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) now available to UAE residents, which allows users to switch freely between telecom operators without losing their mobile numbers, it’s interesting to see how many would be tempted by this option.

For many years, users were not necessarily “stuck” (as recent billboards would suggest), but rather felt like they should remain with their initial mobile operator to avoid the hassle of owning an entirely new number and having to inform all of their contacts about the change. For the first time in the UAE, unhappy customers will have the option to switch over with no such consequences.

A recent survey by financial comparison website found that 34 per cent of residents surveyed claim that they would definitely switch to another (in this case, the other) service provider.

The poll, based on the responses of more than 700 participants from the UAE, also reveals that a further 35 per cent of residents would consider the possibility of making the switch – bringing the total of potential switchers to 69 per cent.

Residents were initially asked whether they were even aware of the MNP option being made available to the general public in December, followed by their reasons behind wanting to change their service provider.

Surprisingly, a whopping 56 per cent of respondents were unaware of the introduction of MNP in the first place. For those who are considering switching, pricing (58 per cent) and network reliability (24 per cent) are the primary reasons behind swapping providers.

Interestingly enough, despite customer service being extremely important to UAE residents, it was not a strong deciding factor, as only 14 per cent of respondents would switch between Etisalat and du based on the quality of customer service.

Since the official announcement, both telecom giants have been engaged in an ongoing advertising campaign to attract new users to switch to their respective services.

To make the switch, a visit to a branch of your existing provider won’t be necessary, but a trip to the provider you’re switching to is. Carry a valid ID (Emirates ID or passport with valid visa) and the process should be completed in one visit. You will also have the option of changing a post-paid plan to a pre-paid plan during the transition; you need not be constrained to the plan of your current provider.

Once the swap is complete, you will be notified by your new provider through an SMS as to when your new SIM will be activated. You will also get an SMS from your old provider informing you of the deactivation of your SIM card.


First published on