India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has reportedly approached US-based Syniverse Technologies with a request that it prepare for a nationwide implementation of mobile number portability (MNP), rather than the geographically restricted launch it is currently gearing up for. According to the Business Standard, the other company selected to administer the service, MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions India (MITSI), a joint venture including Telcordia Technologies, has had its licence approval revoked by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, both Syniverse and MITSI were selected in March 2009 to oversee the introduction of MNP in India, with Syniverse agreeing to operate a clearing house covering northern and western states, while MITSI would administer the service in southern and eastern states. While MITSI initially received FIPB approval, citing security concerns the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) proposed to revoke the consent; the state’s decision was prompted by reports that Telcordia had signed a contract with Pakistan MNP Database for implementing MNP in the neighbouring country.
Commenting on this most recent development, a senior official at the DoT was quoted as saying: ‘The department has already asked Syniverse to ready itself to implement MNP all across India, as we might have to withdraw the licence of Telcordia after [the] FIPB rejected its proposal.’ It is believed that the regulator would prefer to call on Syniverse to pick up the slack, rather than re-opening the bidding for the southern and eastern states, which would only further delay the whole process. Originally the DoT had ordered that rollout of the service must take place in certain circles by 20 September 2009, with the remainder to come online by 20 March 2010. Several delays have since seen the current deadline slip back to 31 October 2010, in part caused by failures of network operators to upgrade their systems to be ready to offer the service, while the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had also still failed to set tariffs for the service by early-2010.