Mobile Number portability rollout not before 2011 & gets delayed for 3rd Time

News Posted - 2010-06-18

Mobile subscribers will have to wait longer if they want to migrate to another service provider while retaining the same number.

The government is likely to postpone the launch of the mobile number portability (MNP) scheme to early next year. The present deadline for implementation of the scheme was this month-end.

This would be the third time that the government was forced to delay the launch because the service providers were not ready to implement it.

“BSNL and MTNL are still not ready with their MNP equipment. While MTNL is yet to install gateways, BSNL’s gateway is under installation. This will delay the whole process by 4-6 months and the launch may be pushed to early next year,” a senior ministry official told Business Standard.

After installing the system, operators would have to test the facility among themselves for two months before launching the scheme.

“The new dates will be announced soon. This time, we will ensure the service providers have enough time to get ready for MNP and there is no further extension for its implementation,” the official said.

The MNP Gateway is required to handle porting communication between operators. “We have invited tenders worth Rs 8 crore for supply, installation of MNP gateways and testing equipment. Currently, we are waiting for the government’s approval to procure the equipment. Then we will install the gateways,” a senior MTNL official said.

A BSNL official said the company was in the process of installing the MNP gateways. Source: BS 18/6/10

Mobile number portability gets delayed for third time

The government will miss the June 30 deadline to implement nationwide mobile number portability (MNP), as telecom public sectors MTNL and BSNL, and a new operator Uninor, are not ready with equipment. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) says a new deadline will be finalised after May 15.

“Currently we are awaiting government approval to procure the equipment, after which we will install the gateways. We have already invited tenders worth Rs 8 crore for supply and installation of MNP gateways, as well as testing equipment,” a senior MTNL official said. A BSNL official said the company is yet to install the MNP gateway. BSNL has issued the advanced purchase order but is still to get the equipment.

This is likely to delay the implementation of MNP as testing of equipment after installation would take at least a month. Apart from the two PSUs, Uninor is not ready with the equipment for MNP, according to a DoT official. However, the company said, “Uninor’s MNP gateway installation is underway. We expect it to be ready as per the timelines prescribed by DoT.”

MNP will allow mobile subscribers to change service providers while retaining their numbers. MNP gateway is required to handle porting communication between operators. It has been delayed twice. Earlier, it was scheduled to be implemented in metros and Category A circles by December 31, 2009. It was deferred to March 31 for a nationwide launch, and then to June 30. “Based on successful completion of the action taken (tests), DoT will decide the dates for MNP implementation, which is expected by June 30,” DoT had said.

Source: BS 7/5/10