Regulator suspends MNP proposals as ‘not cost-effective’

11 Feb 2014

Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has suspended proposals to implement mobile number portability (MNP) as it will not be ‘cost-effective’ until there is a greater proportion of post-paid subscribers in the market, according to the regulator’s director-general Anusha Palpita, quoted by Sri Lankan newspaper The Nation. Palpita explained the strategy by saying: ‘The main beneficiary of [MNP] and those demanding it [would be] post-paid mobile subscribers. However, in Sri Lanka’s case, we have less than 10% of the total mobile subscriber population owning a post-paid mobile connection. Therefore, in my opinion implementation of MNP will not be cost-effective at the moment.’ The director argued that it would be unfair on the roughly 20 million pre-paid users amongst the approximately 21.5 million total customers to bear the cost of MNP implementation, adding: ‘The full implementation could cost the telecom operators to the tune of USD2 million to USD3 million which may then have to be passed to the consumer. But considering the inequality in the proportion as mentioned, it is not the right thing to do.’ He further noted that some of the country’s mobile operators had less than 5% of their subscribers on post-paid plans.