[sify.com] The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who formally launched the nation-wide rollout of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service here on Thursday said telecom sector is one of India's known and praised success stories, and added that the occasion marks a very important milestone in the evolution of telecommunications in India.
"Many years ago, someone asked me to define development and I thought about it and the simplest answer I could improvise was that development is about widening human choices and in the Telecom Sector, what we are witnessing today and what we have witnessed in the last decade, is a shining example of how our telecommunications services have helped to widen human choices in a very important area of nation's economic activity," said Dr. Singh.
"I am therefore very happy to participate in this function to launch the Mobile Number Portability service all over our country. Today's occasion marks a very important milestone in the evolution of telecommunications in our country," he added.
Speaking at a function in Vigyan Bhawan to mark the occasion, Dr. Singh complimented Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and his talented team, the telecom service providers and the Mobile Number Portability operators for this great innovative step forward.
Praising the success of the telecom sector, Dr. Singh said: "Telecom services in our country have witnessed very rapid growth over the last decade and today we are the fastest growing telecom market in the world."
"The prices of our telecom services are among the lowest globally. We can be reasonably proud of our achievements in this very important sector, which has the potential to act as a catalyst for the growth of other sectors of our economy," he added.
Dr. Singh further said with a major contribution from mobile services we have already achieved a tele-density of about 65 percent.
"The Mobile subscriber base has today reached around 750 million from a mere 33 million in March 2004. On the average about 15 million new subscribers are being added each month. More of our countrymen have been touched by this revolution than by any other program, product or service in the history of our nation and that too at a pace unprecedented in the world at large," said Dr. Singh.
"Mobile Number portability (MNP) which is being launched today will allow customers to change their mobile operators in their Service Areas while retaining the mobile numbers originally assigned to them, thereby avoiding the inconvenience of switching to new numbers," he added.
The Prime Minister further said this service would enable a subscriber to exercise his or her choice and get products and services in accordance with his or her preferences.
"It is expected that this service will go a long way in enhancing customer satisfaction. Affordability has always been an issue for any new service. I have been told that keeping this in mind the service of Mobile Number Portability has been made accessible and affordable to all by keeping the charges as low as Rs 19," said Dr. Singh.
"Moreover, it is up to the service provider to charge or not to charge the incoming customer and so a customer may actually end up paying even less for this service," he added.
The Prime Minister said competition all over the world enhances the efficiency of businesses, and improves the availability and quality of products and services.
"The telecommunications sector is a prime example where the fruits of increased competition are visible to all. It is believed that Mobile Number Portability, besides enabling a subscriber to change operators without losing his or her original number, will also trigger greater competition," said Dr. Singh.
"The telecom service providers will seek to improve the range and quality of their services in order to retain their existing subscribers and also to attract subscribers from other operators. This should further spur the growth of the Indian telecom sector," he added.
PM flags off MNP service, says telecom sector one of India's success stories