Cell Phone Users to Change Operators While Keeping Their Numbers Starting in 2016

ASTANA – A draft law under consideration in the Senate of Parliament would allow mobile phone users in Kazakhstan to keep their phone numbers even when they change service providers.

The draft law “On changes to some legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan concerning informatisation” will reinforce the competitive activity of mobile operators, decreasing prices for mobile communication services beginning Jan. 1, 2016. It will also improve the security of critically important objects of communication infrastructure.

“The introduction of mobile telephone numbers’ transfer option will give the opportunity to choose any mobile operator for users on their own, keeping their numbers. It is supposed that this change will reinforce the competitive activity of mobile operators, decrease prices for mobile communication services, while users won’t need to use several sim cards.  The Communication, Informatisation and Information Committee of the Ministry for Investments and Development created a centralised database of mobile telephone users and today mobile operators are upgrading and testing their networks,” said a representative of the committee.

The bill was approved in its second reading by the Mazhilis (lower chamber of Parliament) and specifies tightened control of furnished mobile communication services by an authorised body that is yet to be created. The proposed body will monitor mobile operators to ensure that they meet certain quality standards, do not provide services without contracts, provide full coverage in the areas they are required to cover and allow numbers to be transferred between providers.

The draft law will also solve problems of information security and measures, which are taken by state bodies to protect the information and personal data of Kazakhstan citizens.

Such definitions as “critically important objects of communication infrastructure” were introduced in the draft law for the first time. The operation of the most important communication objects is lifesaving because any malfunction or breakdown can lead to an emergency, social and/or technology-related disaster or sufficient negative consequences for defence, security, foreign affairs, specific fields of economy, infrastructure of the state or human life support.

Also, common standards for information and communication technologies have been developed. All critically important state electronic resources and systems and critically important objects of communication infrastructure will correspond to the standards. The draft law was sent to the Senate of Parliament for review and approval.

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