2nd April 2023

Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine: Number transfer to another network should be carried out only after preliminary identification of the subscriber

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The largest mobile operators in Ukraine, Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine, indicated serious risks of mobile fraud as a result of the simplification of the procedure for porting mobile numbers. At the meeting of the NCCIR, which will be held on July 31, the decision on changes in the procedure for porting mobile numbers will be discussed, in particular – the abolition of preliminary identification of subscribers on the side of the “base operator”. Thus, the recipient operator will determine whether the subscriber is the legal owner of the number that is transferred to another network. The check is carried out using a simple SMS-password. At the same time, the base operator who served the ported number is excluded from the verification process of the number owner.

“This simplification contains significant risks for a subscriber who, having lost his number as a result of fraud, will no longer be able to return it to himself, just as he will not be able to return money from his mobile or bank account if his number is taken over by an attacker. For operators who will not be able to establish whether the subscriber who wants to transfer the number is its legal owner. For the state, since new types of fraud can cause a surge in crimes aimed not only at gaining access to the subscriber’s mobile banking, but also personal information, profiles on social networks, etc. ” – said Alexander Kogut, director of regulatory support of Kyivstar.

“We support the European one-stop shop experience for mobile number portability requests. However, most European countries already have a subscriber base registered with their operators. The subscriber contacts his operator and registers, as required by law in most countries. The registered subscriber transfers the number, addressing the operator to the recipient. Currently, such a procedure is already in place in Ukraine, ”said Lyudmila Tseitlina, head of the design and analytical work department at Vodafone Ukraine.

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Experts of the Interbank Association of Payment Systems Members also believe that “impersonal” number porting will only exacerbate the risks of fraud, given that in Ukraine almost 90% of subscribers use mobile communications anonymously, on a prepaid basis. According to the Association, in 2019 alone, due to fraudulent actions with mobile numbers, Ukrainian citizens lost about UAH 330 million.

Telecom operators Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine emphasize that in order to prevent fraud, it is necessary to maintain a two-step number portability model. Where the first step is the termination of relations with the base operator with a parallel passage of the identification procedure in the manner prescribed by law. Another is a direct appeal to the recipient operator for number portability. Such a model, in the current legal environment, is able to ensure the safe porting of the number for both the subscriber and the telecommunications operator and guarantee that all rights and interests of the parties to the transaction are respected.

As a reminder, the MNP mobile number portability service has been operating in Ukraine since May 1, 2019. During this time, 72 thousand people have used the service, or 0.13% of the total number of mobile subscribers in Ukraine. According to information from the financial statements of operators, Kyivstar serves 26.0 million subscribers, Vodafone Ukraine – 19.5 million, lifecell – 7.5 million subscribers.

Vicky O. Torres

My name is Vicky O. Torres. I am a psychologist by profession, and I love my work very much. And in general, I am an active seeker of truth, silence and beauty of the world.

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