Number portability: working with Antel to get it up and running

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In January 2022, number portability came into force, enabling users to change telephone company and keep their number.

How does portability work in Uruguay?

In order to make portability possible, a Database Administrator (DBA) system was chosen in Uruguay. The ABD functions as an impartial and independent intermediary between the donor company (the one currently providing the service) and the recipient (the one the user chose to migrate the service to).

The role of the DBA is to regulate portability transactions: it corroborates the user's identity (via a text message code, known as PIN), verifies that the requirements are met, and operates as an arbitrator in the exchange of data between operators.

Users can change operator up to three times per year, while 30 calendar days must elapse between each request.

The process works as follows: a person goes to a commercial office to express his or her intention to change telephone company. The process can also be initiated online from the web and in some companies (such as Antel) by WhatsApp. The receiving company enters the request into the system, and this information reaches the ABD, which sends the user the PIN (this code will be their identification number and will allow them to check on the website that the procedure has been initiated).

The ABD then corroborates with the donor company different requirements (such as that the person who expressed the intention to carry is the service holder, that their personal details are correct or if they have a debt, among others). The donor company analyses each point, accepts or rejects the request and informs the ABD. Finally, the ABD sends the acceptance or rejection of the request to the receiving operator.

The case of Antel and the role of Isbel

In order for the exchange of data with the DBA required for the portability process to take place, telephone operators must have another intermediary system between their systems and the DBA: a gateway. This software is the interface that makes communication between the operator and the DBA possible. In addition, it has other functions such as verifying compliance with the rules of the process (e.g. that the necessary steps for portability are being respected), as well as participating in the processes involved in the portability process, which are executed automatically.

The gateway is also responsible for administering the Operational Database (which manages the ported numbers) of the operator, which is a replica of the central database maintained by the DBA and is used to route calls appropriately.

Antel, the state-owned telephone company, chose us to implement its gateway . For this project, we worked with our partner Sixbell, a multinational company based in Chile, which specialises in driving technological transformation in companies. Sixbell provided its number portability gateway platform, which the company's Development team customised for Antel's needs and implemented together with our Implementation and Support team.

This process was completed in record time for this type of project, within the deadlines set by the authorities.

Together with Hey Now,* we also designed the WhatsApp chatbot for Antel. This channel, in addition to facilitating other Antel services, streamlines and automates the initiation of the portability request.

*Hey Now is the first product of Qubox, the product house of Quantik (a group that also includes Isbel). It creates the new generation of bots and applies artificial intelligence to generate natural communication. It specialises in finance, health and utilities.

Its bots understand and process text, image, voice and video from any source, as well as integrate with any platform and system. The company has more than 100 clients in 10 countries (Latin America, Caribbean and Europe).



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