The Department of Telecom is learnt to be exploring the option of having 4 number portability operators and is opposed to telecom regulator TRAI’s recommendation of a single centralised agency that would monitor number portability options, once it is rolled out. Number portability is a technology by which you can change your telecom service provider without having to change your cellphone number.
This DoT reckons would be anti-monopoly and would be secure for users. Currently, this technology is not available in India but is prevalent in other countries like US and Europe.
In the last week of April, TRAI said that it is likely to play the role of a mediator in disputes between service providers and the mobile number portability implementing company. Further, it had proposed that telecom service providers will solve the problems between themselves and in case of a failure to resolve it, they may request TRAI to help them sort the problem.
To monitor number portability, TRAI had forwarded to DoT, the draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of a single operator, for providing and operating mobile number portability solution in the country. However, in a recently held meeting, some members opposed this and were in favour of exploring the option of four Mobile Number Portability Clearing House Administrator (MCHAs) and Number portability database (NPDB) on grounds of security and anti-monopoly.
DoT is yet to take a decision on the same.
In a letter to Telecom Secretary Sidhharth Behura, Trai Chairman Nripendra Misra said: "Setting up of four MCHAs and NPDBs will increase the total capital expenditure and operating expenditure. Each service provider will have to interconnect with all the four MCHAs and NPDB leading to increase in their set-up costs.
Misra added reducing this monitoring to a single operator would increase porting transaction fee, thereby making the service unviable for subscribers. There could synchronisation problems as well leading issues related to quality service, he added.
Quality of service is a big issue at a time when India is adding 5 million subscribers on an average every month. A recent research report by international research group IDS says that mobile users were unhappy with the customer services provided by service providers such as call drops and voice quality.