The FINANCIAL — The Georgian National Communications’ Commission (GNCC) together with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia (MOESD) will sign a document about the changing of national numeration (codes) in the coming weeks. The project envisages bringing of a new system of dialling and subscriber number portability in Georgia which will be in compliance with European standards.
The changes will take hold by January of 2011, when all mobile, int. phone call makers, fixed phones and other types of operators have to move to a new system of dialling.
Implementing calls locally as well as internationally will be done differently, hereafter calling from mobile to mobile instead of 8 you’ll be dialling 5. For example 599 XX XXXX, whilst calling from fixed phone to mobile you’ll be using 0 599 XX XXXX.
Special services’ numeration will also be changed so hereafter instead of 022 to call the police you’ll be dialling 122, ambulance – 112, fire station – 111, etc. When calling from Tbilisi to regions like Batumi, you’ll be dialling 0 422 XX XXXX, likewise back to Tbilisi 0 32 XXX XXXX.
As for int. phone call makers, when choosing an operator like 8-07 now the subscriber has to dial 10 XX 00 39 081 XXX XXXX, (so in this case instead of the first XX – 07) to be having lower tariffs, as it was before. For example you could be calling to Italy adding the new code 00 39 081 XXX XXXX. In the case of incoming calls from abroad then subscribers have to dial 00 995 32 XXX XXXX to call to Tbilisi.
As Irakli Qashibadze, Head of the Communications Department at MOESD, told The FINANCIAL the changes in the telecommunications market are essential for Georgia, despite the fact that it will have some negative effects for companies as a whole, as all of the companies have to be ready for the change and provide information to people about their new codes.
As The FINANCIAL found, the changing of national numeration has its pros and cons for all operators. As companies like 8-07, one of the oldest int. phone call makers claims, such changes will increase their promotion budget to a greater extent requiring them to inform their customers about those changes and start making a new pool of customer contracts.
“In this new regulation done by GNCC and MOESD, there are some parts which we consider positive and some negative/controversial for our company.
In the first case we have to make contracts with people using 8-07. So customers who are for example subscribers of Silknet (or any other operator) will be given the opportunity to make contracts with us. Henceforth even if a subscriber usually dials according to new numeration (00) to call abroad then Silknet is obliged to put the call through, in any case using the tariffs set by us.
Contracts aren’t being made with any subscribers yet, but once the new numeration is approved we’ll do it at once,” said Nugzar Adeishvili, Director of 8-07.
“The change itself in numeration will also affect our company financially, as we’ll have to run a lot of ads to inform our subscribers about it. Taking into account that we’ve spent a huge amount of money on the promotion of 8-07 before, we will now have to be spending a lot on informing our loyal customers again,” said Adeishvili.
The signing of the document will be done by Prime Minister Nika Gilauri in the coming weeks, according to The FINANCIAL.
“With the new system of numeration we will ensure that the resources in terms of numbers/codes will be much, thus companies will have the opportunity to invest more in the telecommunications market. The latter will enhance competition on the market. It will also become convenient for the customers.
Whereas previously companies were participating in auctions to get codes like 8 99, 8 07, 8 55, and the like, now they will be able to purchase them at a fixed rate, hence if a company pays less on buying a code then it will give them the chance to save money from the bidding process and improve the service with their remaining capital.
Companies have taken the obligation to finish the re-branding or moving to a new system by January 2011. The system itself is of European standards. As for the setting of tariffs it depends on the company’s policies and is not a state obligation, we are just contributing to the development of this sector,” said Irakli Qashibadze, Head of the Telecommunications’ Department at MOESD.
Another very important step that GNCC together with MOESD are taking is about the bringing of the portability principle to the market. So for instance if previously a person saw that tariffs were better at another operator, they often wouldn’t make the switch because they wouldn’t want to change their number. However this will no longer be the case. So now, without changing their number, customers can call with the tariffs they like at other operators.
The latter project will be done a bit later in 2011. If a customer files a claim that he wants to move to another operator’s tariffs then in 24 hours it’ll be done. For example if a customer of Magti doesn’t like its tariffs and prefers Beeline then he/she can write an application to the relevant operator and in 24 hours time will be calling with Beeline tariffs from the same number.
“This principle will increase the competition in terms of tariffs that companies are charging, and are different. So they’ll compete to offer better services and the best prices hereafter. The portability principle will be available from January 2011 onwards.
By taking these steps Georgia will follow the standards of the European Communication System, and hence the International Telecommunication Union,” Irakli Qashibadze told The FINANCIAL.