The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Wednesday, recommended implementation of mobile number portability across the country within six months. When implemented, this will allow users to retain their mobile numbers even when they shift their service area .

 Presently, mobile number portability (MNP) is available within the same service area.

 “The facility of pan-India portability will allow a subscriber to change his service area without change of mobile number,” the regulator said. It explained that post implementation, subscribers in Andhra Pradesh, for example, will be able to port their numbers to Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, and so on.

 In February this year, TRAI had invited inputs from stakeholders on issues relating to processing of porting request, routing and charging of calls, method for implementing inter-service area porting and amendments required in the existing licence conditions of the MNP service licence, among others.

 “After analysis of the inputs received, extensive deliberations with the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and internal analysis, the Authority’s recommendations have been finalised,” TRAI said.

 The regulator suggested that service providers be given six months time to implement full MNP in the country.

 “As the NTP (National Telecom Policy) 2012 had already declared that full MNP is around the corner, operators seem to be prepared for it operationally to rollout nation-wide,” Hemant Joshi, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells said, adding that the move  is unlikely it will have significant impact on the revenues of the operator as India is mostly a prepaid market.

 During the consultation process, TSPs have requested to waive the testing fee by the Department of Telecommunications for acceptance tests to be conducted for implementation of full MNP, following which the regulator has recommended that the fee may be reduced to 25 per cent of the current fee.

 On the issue as to who would bear the STD charges while calling the number that had been ported to another service area, TRAI said most service providers were of the view that STD rates had plummeted to almost the same level as local call rates, hence, it was not a major issue.

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