September 10, 2010
New Delhi: State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Friday said it is ready with the infrastructure to start mobile number portability (MNP) by the scheduled Oct 31 deadline.
MNP will allow users to retain their mobile telephone numbers even if they switch their operators.
"We are ready with the infrastructure and will meet this deadline," said Gopal Das, officiating chairman and managing director of BSNL.
But there are apprehensions that the MNP implementation will be deferred again. It has already been delayed four times. Initially, MNP was to be implemented by December 31, 2009 in all the metros along with the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The deadline was then changed to March 31, 2010 and then to June 30, 2010. The June 30 deadline was again deferred as operators were not ready with the infrastructure to provide the service.
The latest hurdle could be US-based Telcordia Technologies which, reports said, could move court to protect its MNP business ambition through joint venture MNP Interconnection.
The telecom department has served MNP Interconnection a show-cause notice, asking it why its licence should not be cancelled, after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) rejected its proposal citing security concerns.
Besides MNP Interconnection, the other licencee is Syniverse Technologies India, which has got approvals to implement MNP in India.
The country has been split into two number portability zones comprising 11 circles each and each zone is to be serviced by a separate MNP operator to avoid a monopoly scenario. Reports said the DoT is planning to tweak the MNP guidelines to allow a single company, Syniverse, to roll out its services nationally.
The telecom regulator has ruled out a further delay, saying MNP will be implemented nationwide from Oct 31.