Telcos mobile-number-portability-guide-UAE

Published on December 6th, 2013 | by Bhavishya Kanjhan


A guide to Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in UAE

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is finally going live in the UAE on the 22nd of December. The launch of Mobile Number Portability are likely to have a lot of implications on the ICT landscape in the country. It is important for users to understand how Mobile Number Portability works and so we’ve put together a guide of frequently asked questions. This information has been sourced from du and Etisalat.


What is Mobile Number Portability?

Mobile Number Portability allows users to move their existing mobile  number to another operator in order to use their services. So if you have an Etisalat number (050-1234567), you can now move this number to du and keep the number (050-1234567). Alternately if you have a du number (055-7654321), you can now move to Etisalat and keep the same (055-7654321) number.

Up until now, you had to get a 055 or 052 number with du,  or a 050/056 number with Etisalat.


What numbers can be moved between operators?

All mobile numbers – 050, 055, 052 and 056 – can be moved from du to Etisalat, and vice versa.


Is Mobile Number Portability for post paid or prepaid customers only?

Both prepaid and postpaid customers can move their mobile numbers between operators.


Is Mobile Number Portability for consumer or enterprise users?

Both Consumers and Enterprise users can move their numbers.


Is there going to be a cost for porting my number?

There is no final confirmation yet, but it is likely that there won’t be a cost for porting your number. If any, the cost will be levied by the new operator.


What happens to my credit on my prepaid or postpaid account when I port my number?

Any balance or credit on prepaid or postpaid numbers will be lost during the porting process. As a result, it is recommended to consume all credit and/or allowances with your existing operator before starting the porting process.


Can I port my number if I have an existing contract or  outstanding debts / bills with my existing operators? 

Yes you can port your number to your new operator if you have an existing contract or bills that need to be paid to your existing operator. After the porting process is completed, you will have to close the contract and pay whatever fees and outstanding dues are applicable.


How do I port my number?

The Mobile Number Portability in UAE is handled by the operator you’re moving to (new operator). You place a request with your new operator who handles the porting with your old operator. For example, if you’re moving your 050 number from Etisalat to du, you will place the request with du who will port your number over from Etisalat. du will also send you a new SIM with your 050 number.

This is in contrast to many other countries where porting is done at the old operator and it requires a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) that needs to taken from the old operator and given to the new operator.

By making this process recipient-led (new operator), the whole process has become very easy for the end user.


Will I require a new SIM card?

Yes, your new operator will give you a new SIM card that will have to be used in the phone


Will I lose my contacts / information?

Any contacts stored on your SIM card will be lost. Those stored on your phone will remain


How long does it take to port the number?

du is saying it will take one working day to port a number while Etisalat is saying it could take up to two working days.However users who place a request will be kept updated through the process with SMSs being sent from both the old operator and the new operator.

The porting process only happens during working hours (Sunday to Thursday, 8 AM to 8PM), however the request for porting can be placed outside of those hours.  For the technically inclined, TRA is mandating that each operator is only allowed to  port-in 3000 numbers per working day and any more requests will be queued at the new operator’s end.


Will there be any loss of service during the porting process?

No, there won’t be any loss of service during the porting process. Your existing number will continue to be operational on your old SIM until you receive a confirmation goodbye SMS from your old operator, upon which you can insert your new SIM.

For the technically inclined – the reason for this is the implementation of ‘make-before-break’ principle being used for Mobile Number Portability where the new connection is made before the old connection being broken.


If I have ported my number to a new telco, can I port the number back to the old telco?

Yes you can port-back to the old operator within 3 working days of a successful port-out. However operators are allowed to refuse to port a number more than once in a 30 day period.





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About the Author

is Founder of and a retail professional. He's been oscillating between iOS and Android every few months and has yet to pick a side! Follow him on Twitter @bhavishya

Ronel says:

i transfer my du number to etisalat and i applied it for smartphone plan but after two days its just a postpaid only its really bad…and untill now there’s no system to cancel my postpaid plan to make it prepaid hope new system will come thanks

santosh says:

Excellent and very resourceful

Varuna Singh says:

Just to add what I’ve heard on the experience side of portability. In order to avoid ether du or etisalat in retaining you on their network, TRA is ensuring the concept of consumer choice, you dont have to deal with PAC codes that are frequent in Europe and the UK.

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