India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has confirmed that the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) has been delayed until the end of March 2010, the Economic Times reports. A statement from the ministry of communications confirmed the delay, noting that ‘the government has now decided to implement it [MNP] in whole of the country in one go by 31 March 2010.’ Under the original plans for the implementation of the service wireless subscribers in Category A circles and Metros were expected to be offered MNP from the beginning of January, with the rest of the country pencilled in to gain access to the service from 1 April. It is understood that the main reason for the pushing back of the deadline is that a number of telcos have informed the DoT that they need more time for upgrading their systems.
Further delays could be on the cards however, with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) having also raised concerns over the identity of shareholders of MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions India, which has been selected to administer the service in the southern and eastern states. As reported by CommsUpdate last month the MHA claims that a number of shareholders in the company had no experience in running telecom services, whilst the ministry has also called on the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to review the clearance it has granted the company due to its presence in Pakistan.