The Department of Telecom has extended the deadline to fully execute mobile number portability (MNP) across the country by another two months. The earlier deadline to roll out ‘full MNP’ was May 3, but the government has now extended the deadline by another two months as operators are yet to test the new software.
Telecom industry body COAI had sought extension for implementing nationwide MNP as telecom operators have to make some technical changes to their networks due to changes in national numbering plan (NNP) and this could take another 8 weeks. Under the scheme telecom operators have to allow subscribers to dial mobile numbers within the same circle as well as inter circle without any prefix. Subscribers can also make calls using the prefix ’0′ and/or ‘+91′.
An official statement read, “The government has decided to extend the date of implementation of the full MNP in the networks by two months.” DoT stated that various telecom operators have already put in place hardware and software in their system required for implementation of full MNP. "Internal testing by these operators is in advanced stage. The detailed final testing is schedule to commence shortly and is likely to be completed in two months for most of the operators,” the statement added.
COAI Director-General Rajan Mathews said: "Telecom players will be able to meet the extended deadline. There might be some constraints but it looks feasible. Also, full MNP can be launched only when all the service operators, including the government ones (BSNL and MTNL), are ready." He added that telecom operators had invested about Rs 500 crore when MNP was first launched in 2011, and now the investment will be around Rs 200-300 crore. DoT had approved recommendations of TRAI on full MNP on November 3, 2014, which was to be implemented within a six months period. "We expect hardly two per cent of mobile users to avail this facility," said Mathews.
MNP was introduced in Jan 2011 and allowed mobile users to retain their numbers while changing their service providers within a circle/state. According to a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report approximately 150 million users have availed the facility till the end of February 2015.