TRAI for mobile number portability

By agencies   |   Monday, 25 July 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India indicated that India could be ready to introduce mobile number portability, which would allow subscribers to change their operator even as they retain their mobile number.

In a consultation paper issued, the telecom regulator said that subscribers and operators would benefit from the introduction of the number portability system.

"All countries where cost benefit analysis was done showed a net benefit from the introduction of number portability. Some might suggest that number portability should be introduced in a more mature market. However, Netherlands introduced number portability when cellular penetration was fewer than 10 percent. India can also begin discussing number portability which will add to the benefits of competition," said the TRAI paper.

TRAI has also suggested phased implementation of the system to lessen the cost implications in introducing number portability. The regulator said that Indian mobile networks matched global standards and therefore there was no unusual requirement for the implementation of mobile number portability. It, however, recognized that there were technical and financial concerns that would have to be addressed.

The consultation paper raises a number of issues pertaining to number portability including national numbering plan, interconnection and the impact on value-added services such as SMS and voice mail. The paper explains its different types, the technical, operational and economic issues and international experiences.

"In most service areas in India, subscribers have a choice of operators, however, the subscriber's inability to retain his telephone number when changing operators is an obstacle to competition. Therefore, MNP will benefit subscribers and increase the level of competition, rewarding operators with the best customer service, coverage, and service quality," TRAI said.

Recently IDC had conducted a study, which revealed that 30 percent of mobile users are ready to change their operator if given a better option. TRAI said that the introduction of number portability would also benefit operators, as they will strive to offer better service to prevent churn. However, mobile operators are not keen to implement it fearing huge churn.

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