The much-hyped introduction of mobile number portability (MNP), which was scheduled for mid-2009, would now be available only next year. The implementation of the first phase of MNP in metros and category-A service areas has been extended to 31 December, 2009, a Department of Telecommunication (DoT) official said.
Despite DoT’s claims that MNP, which will allow a mobile subscriber to change his operator without changing his mobile number, would be available by this year-end in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu circles, industry sources said the service was likely to be available only by early 2010.
A couple of years ago, the Telecom Regulatory Authority India (TRAI) had mooted the idea of implementing MNP to promote fair competition among telecom service providers and give freedom to mobile subscribers to change their operators by paying a nominal fee. After much debate and initial resistance from leading mobile players, DoT decided to implement this mechanism, which is very popular in some developed countries.
DoT has started the process for MNP implementation. Initially, DoT said MNP would be available in 2008, but later various senior government authorities announced that it would be introduced by mid-2009.