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BW Businessworld

A Long Wait

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Nearly 18 months after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) approved the norms for number portability, which allows dissatisfied mobile subscribers to move from one operator to another without changing the number, operators continue to drag their feet over its implementation. This is despite the fact that they have managed to arm-twist the government to agree to the world's worst window of 90 days to transfer the number (the global standard is between one and seven days).

Mobile operators' intransigence over this has made a mockery of yet another deadline, 31 December, set by the government. It has been seven months since the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) appointed Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Teleco Solutions, to implement portability in India.

However, the DoT and Trai are still to force these firms and the operators to start porting numbers.

A senior DoT official says the government is also not pushing portability as it fears government-owned operators BSNL and MTNL may lose the maximum subscribers. Sadly, sceptics of number portability wield so much influence over decision making that subscriber choice continues to get the short shrift.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 26-10-2009)

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