The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has claimed that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) should not further extend the deadline for the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP), according to LiveMint. Having already been pushed back on three occasions – from an original date of December 2009 to October 2010 – the TRAI has said that it may consider penalising operators for not being prepared to offer the service. The delays have, for the most part, been the result of mobile operators claiming that they were not technically ready to offer MNP, with the two state-owned cellcos Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) having yet to install the necessary data gateways for the service. Commenting on the current status of MNP implementation, TRAI secretary RK Arnold noted: ‘It is seen from the status report that almost all the service providers are at various stages of testing, except MTNL and BSNL … While BSNL is yet to start testing as its MNP gateway is not ready, MTNL is still in the process of placing the purchase order.’ It is understood that the TRAI has requested that DoT obtain commitments from all operators that they will launch the services in time, while it has also suggested that the cellcos be required to produce periodic reports on their readiness.
Further issues could yet lie ahead however, with claims that the DoT has been examining the possibility of making regulations easier for operators by extending the timeframe for MNP to four working days instead of the 24 hour turnaround time currently called for by legislation. The TRAI has, however, noted that as MNP is being introduced through a statutory regulation it must be consulted if any changes are to be made.