Saturday, December 19, 2009

India - Mobile operators claim they are not yet ready for number portability

[the hindu] Mobile operators on Friday told the Department of Telecom that they were not ready to implement Mobile Number Portability by January 1.

At a meeting called by the DoT to gauge the extent of preparedness, almost all the operators said that the facility could be implemented only by March 2010.

MNP allows subscribers to change their operators without having to give up on their phone number. The system was supposed to be introduced in the four Metro cities in January and the rest of the country by April. But now with the Metro roll-out getting delayed, the DoT may consider to implement the facility across the country in one go.

While the operators have to upgrade their network, there are also issues related to interconnection between mobile networks which is delaying the implementation.

The DoT has asked its technical wing, the Telecom Engineering Centre, to work out the modalities of interconnection.

Telecordia under scanner

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has raised concerns about one of the companies implementing the project. US-ased Telcordia has been put under scanner for partnering an Indian company with no telecom experience.

Telcordia also has operations in Pakistan which has also caught the Home Ministry's eye. The DoT had picked Telcordia and Syniverse to offer MNP services. One of the companies being investigated could further delay the introduction of the facility.

Another issue that is coming in the way is the tariff fixed by the telecom regulator for MNP services.

TRAI has set a ceiling of Rs 19 for each number ported, which may not be enough for the two service providers to make it a viable business case.

According to industry sources, even if the Government manages to resolve these issues, it will take 60-90 days for conducting trials before the service can be made available commercially.

This means that if all the operators are ready with their network by February or March, number portability will not be implemented before June-July 2010.

Not ready yet for portability, telcos tell DoT

No comments: