The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has announced that it is putting in place ‘preliminary measures’ to usher in mobile number portability (MNP) in the country. Using its Twitter platform, the regulator confirmed: ‘TRC initiates preliminary steps on implementing number portability which would enable consumers to select service providers without change of existing mobile numbers’.
No timeline for the implementation has been given however, and TeleGeography notes that progress towards making MNP a reality in Sri Lanka has been tortuously slow. It was back in 2008/09 that the TRCSL first began studying the possibility of introducing MNP, while in April 2010 the regulator issued a Terms of Reference (TOF) inviting consulting firms to assist in the establishment of the necessary regulatory framework. Subsequently, in February 2014 the then director-general Anusha Palpita was quoted as saying that MNP implementation remained suspended as it would not be cost-effective until there is a greater proportion of post-paid subscribers in the market. Palpita explained at the time: ‘The main beneficiary of [MNP] and those demanding it [would be] post-paid mobile subscribers. In Sri Lanka’s case, however, 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,’ adding that it would be unfair for the pre-paid users to shoulder MNP implementation costs which might be passed on by operators.