If you are a mobile phone user and have been looking forward to mobile number portability under which you will be able to shift to a different mobile service provider while maintaining your number, you will have to wait for a little longer. May be more than a year!
According to a senior government source, the Department of Telecommunications is not looking at number portability for the moment.
“There is absolutely nothing happening at the moment regarding number portability. The recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on number portability are pending,” the source told
a day after Communications Minister A Raja said the government was “actively considering” the issue.
“Whenever a policy has to be framed it will be based on Trai’s recommendations,” said the source.
Operators in India are not ready to adopt number portability as it not only involves high costs but also unleashes unrestrained competition in which customers can switch between schemes without suffering the inconveniences that happen when a customer switches numbers.
“We hope to persuade the operators in six months time” said an official. The switch also involves high costs for operators in terms of adjusting or replacing their equipment.
Even if government is able to convince the operators on mobile number portability in six months' time, the framing of the policy, setting up administrative machinery at the government level and bringing in critical systems and process and fine-tuning them will take another one year.
A number of other systems need to be streamlined, including call delivery, billing, caller IDs, calling name presentation, order activation, roamer registration and support, customer service, short messages service centres, directory assistance, switches, maintenance and a number of other systems.
However, the Association of United Service Providers of India, a representative body of telephone operators with its roots in the private fixed-line and CDMA standard mobile services, has agreed to extended support to the government on number portability.