Hong Kong regulator Ofta has given the go-ahead for number portability between fixed and mobile phones.
Ofta has proposed a voluntary scheme where carriers will be free to set arrangements, with the regulator's approval.
However, consumers are unlikely to be able to port their fixed-line numbers over to their mobile service any time soon, as none of the fixed-line carriers support the scheme.
Incumbent PCCW and Hong Kong Broadband Network have said they were still studying the decision, but in submissions to Ofta both said they were unwilling to implement it during a recession.
PCCW also said the proposed scheme would favor mobile over fixed-line operators. Hong Kong's biggest cellcos, CSL and Hutchison, both welcomed the scheme.
Ofta said the FMNP service would "provide a level playing field for mobile and fixed operators, promote cross-platform competition, and meet the need of consumers who [desire] for such a service."
Around 25% of residential line users and 26% of business line users plan to port their fixed numbers to mobile networks if given a chance, according to an Ofta survey from early 2008.