Thomas K. Thomas

New Delhi, Nov. 3

GSM operators, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, have told the Department of Telecom that mobile number portability (MNP) should not be introduced before January.

Festival season peak

The GSM players said that as mobile networks are at peak usage in November and December due to the festival season, it will be difficult to implement the system. The DoT was looking to introduce number portability in Haryana from November 25 and roll it out to the rest of the country by December.

At a meeting between the operators and the DoT, the GSM players said number portability should be introduced after the first week of January. “If MNP is introduced now when our networks are running at a peak, it could affect the implementation. Consumers will suffer as the networks may not be able to offer quality service. We have been ready to implement MNP for the past one year but it was never introduced. Now when we are in a crucial period in terms of traffic growth, suddenly they want to introduce it,” said a GSM industry representative.

But CDMA operators and new GSM players are ready for number portability. Mr S.C. Khanna, Secretary General, Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, said: “Only the incumbent GSM operators have an issue. All the CDMA and new GSM operators are ready to start MNP by December. DoT should go ahead with it.”

The GSM operators also said that as most of their network is outsourced to international companies, top engineers may not be available during the holiday season.

“It is globally accepted that no one tinkers with the mobile network during these two months when a lot of executives take off for holidays. Introducing MNP now could actually make it a damp squib,” said a GSM player.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 4, 2010)
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