Mobile phone subscribers in the UAE will soon be able to switch between service providers du and etisalat, while retaining the same number, like customers in Europe and the US.

The number portability will also help them to retain the respective codes.

Arabic daily Al Ittihad reported that the facility has been approved by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) and will be on offer early 2010.

A TRA official believes that number portability, once launched, will increase the competition between du and etisalat. However the facility will only be applicable for those mobile subscribers who have been with the service providers (du or etisalat) for a year.