Mobile Number Portability(MPN) has always made a great piece of news in India’s Telecom circuit since the time it was to be implemented last year. MPN, in simple words, is a technology that will allow subscribers to change their mobile service provider while retaining their existing mobile number unlike the current scenario where you have to change your number when changing the service provider.
So as you can easily understand, MPN unleashes genuine competitive pressures among the service providers and result in tariff-wars. Its biggest advantage would be a marked improvement in quality of service. It could also marginally reduce tariffs in areas like international roaming and value-added services where there is insufficient price competition.
With all its goodness spoken about, MPN has always met with severe resistance from operators and has been delayed so far. And this time, the Government-owned service providers – BSNL and MTNL are not prepared for its implementation.
The TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recently called for the latest status report from both the MNP status providers Telcordia and Syniverse. The report showed that all the service providers are at various stages of testing except BSNL and MTNL. TRAI quoted – “While BSNL is yet to start testing as its MNP gateway is not ready, MTNL is still in the process of placing the purchase order”.
MNP was to have been implemented in 2009, but has met with severe resistance from operators. More recently, the deadline for its implementation was shifted first to March 31, 2010 and then extended to June 30 and later to October 31.
For MNP to be implemented by its current deadline of October 31, TRAI has written to Department of Telecommunication, Govt of India saying – “the Authority is apprehensive that unless DoT, which is the administrative department for these PSUs, takes a firm commitment from them, their lack of action will continue to result in further delay in the implementation of MNP.”
Considering the fact that India is one of the very few countries where the subscribers have yet to enjoy the benefit of MNP, a repeated extension of timelines is not withstanding.