Finally, number portability comes to India
Expect to see service by September
Bangalore: May 7: The ability to retain their mobile phone numbers, even if they change their business to another service provider will soon be something Indian customers can soon enjoy. Number portability, mooted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority and made mandatory by the government, is being implemented across the country and hopefully users can enjoy the benefits, come September 2009.
Government has roughly carved the country into two zones: one covering the North and the West, the second covering the South and the East. The licence to implement number portability services has been awarded to two qualified agencies: Syniverse for zone 1 and Telcordia Technologies for zone 2.
Telcodia's expertise will be deployed through its joint venture in India with MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions Pvt Ltd. Richard Jacowleff President, Interconnection Solutions at the Piscataway, New Jersey (US)-base Telcoprdia, is Chairman designate of the Indian entity MNP Interconnection and he was in Bangalore last week with Managing Director MNP, Ashok Sapra, to kick off the company's number portability services here in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata to be followed by West Bengal and the North Eastern states.
MNP will act as the buckle that helps transition the customer's number from one service provider to another ( for a start only within the same telecom circle). The Department of Telecommunications has mandated that this should not take more than two days and that the phone should not remain deactivated for more than two hours.
Telcordia does all interconnections in North America, Mr Jacowleff explained -- and India is the 15th country where its solutions are being deployed. The company's initial investment here is in the order of $ 10 million. Mr Sapra expected about 4-5 percent of subscribers to opt for number portability. The big question is who will pay and how much. Informal feedback from the industry is that in India the customer will be asked to pay a fee -- and the amount has not yet been decided. It is unlikely to me more than Rs 400- Rs 500 since anything higher will be self defeating.
Hindu Businessline reported May 5, that Telcordia is also in talks with Indian government agencies to offer Electronic Number Mapping -- ENUM -- where the subscriber can use his mobile phone number as a universal personal ID.