GSM players unhappy about MNP changes

7 Oct 2008

According to India’s Economic Times, GSM operators have argued that recent changes by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to the policy for mobile number portability (MNP) could lead to misuse by operators looking to move their existing CDMA-based subscribers to GSM services. In September 2008 the telecoms minister inserted a clause whilst making changes to the MNP policy which stated that, for subscribers moving from GSM to CDMA or vice-versa with the same service provider, the process need not be routed through a centralised agency. In a communication to the DoT through industry body the Cellular Operators of India (COAI), the GSM operators contend that the following the changes, ‘MNP could become a tool for an operator to manipulate its own subscribers. Manipulation of subscribers could enable the service provider to misuse the system to grab additional spectrum, manipulate revenue streams for different technologies to evade spectrum usage charges creating non-level playing field and anti-competitive concerns amongst all other operators in the industry.’ It is also believed that GSM players are concerned that, if intra-operator porting is permitted before MNP involving all telcos is finalised, it could help those CDMA players planning to launch services on the GSM platform move their subscribers to the new platform. The COAI has clarified that it does not oppose intra-operator porting, but does believe it should be subject to the same guidelines as MNP between different cellcos.