Telecom minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday said inter-circle Mobile Number Portability (MNP) facility is likely to be made available in the country by February 2013. The inter-circle MNP will allow users to switch service providers even when they move from one state to another.
"For the timely implementation of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012, the Department of Telecom has finalised broad agenda for next three months from December 2012 to February 2013," says Sibal at the 'India Telecom 2012' in New Delhi.
Besides nationwide MNP, the minister further says, the government is set to finalise some major initiatives by February 2013 such as approval of spectrum assign and pricing , single licence, M&A guidelines, approval of guidelines for spectrum sharing and fund for R&D and manufacturing.
As per the current MNP system, a subscriber can switch to a different service provider only within his/her circle without changing phone number. However, the new National Telecom Policy 2012 brings MNP implementation on a nationwide level. Read more about the NTP 2012 here.
The NTP 2012 also envisages nationwide free roaming, which according to the minister, is going to be available in the country from next year. The decision is likely to come into effect from March-April 2013. "Roaming will be free in 2013. We have to get Cabinet approval and then it comes back to us. And then it will be floated,” said Sibal on Wednesday.
It is believed that the government's efforts to implement free roaming at a national level may prompt tariff hike by all major telecom operators. The industry estimates about 8-10 percent reduction in revenues margins if the free roaming comes into effect.