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National free roaming round the corner

india Updated: May 24, 2012 01:59 IST
Manoj Gairola
Manoj Gairola
Hindustan Times
Union Cabinet

The Union Cabinet is set to take up the New Telecom Policy (NTP, 2012) deliberation on Thursday. If cleared, more than 930 million mobile subscribers will be able to change their operators while retaining their numbers even if they shift to another state. They will also be able to travel across the country without paying roaming charges.

Currently, mobile number portability (MNP) allows a subscriber to change his operator only within a circle (boundaries of a telecom circle roughly coincides with the boundary of a state). If a subscriber shifts from one state to another, he can not avail MNP facility.

“Full MNP is an important development as it will give more choice to the consumers,” said CEO of a pan-India telecom service provider.

Once the NTP is implemented and the full MNP regime comes into place, a subscriber would be able to change his operator while retaining his number even if he moves states.

MNP is highly successful in India. Till the end of March close to 42 million subscribers had opted for MNP, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data.

Another important feature of NTP is to achieve free roaming throughout the country. Currently, a subscriber has to pay up to R1 per minute as roaming charges. Though some of the new operators do not charge any roaming charge if the incoming call originates from the same network.

Discovery spectrum price through market related process, encouraging indigenous manufacturing and improving broadband connectivity are other important features of NTP.