Sri Lanka’s telecoms operators have provided an update on the long-running saga to introduce fixed number portability (FNP) and mobile number portability (MNP) on the island. Speaking this week at the country’s ‘Internet Day 2022’, Bharti Airtel Lanka CEO Ashish Chandra revealed that a new company ‘Lanka Portability’ has been created to act as the central company to handle it, and that all domestic service providers have a stake in it. Lanka Portability is currently looking at recruiting the people needed to oversee the deployment of MNP and FNP. The CEO went on to point out, however, that its implementation ‘is a big technical investment’ and that Sri Lanka does not currently have the local wherewithal to handle it. ‘It is a few million dollars which have to be put in and implementation itself takes about two to three quarters. I do not see it happening in the next two to three quarters, but work is happening in this particular direction and hopefully next year we should be able to see it,’ he is quoted by local press as saying.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate in March 2021 – following the conclusion of its public consultation on the matter – the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) announced that FNP and MNP, enabling customers to switch provider while retaining their existing number, would likely be introduced from October 2021. Although that deadline was missed, TRCSL Director General Oshada Senanayake is on record as saying the government hopes that number portability will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of services of voice and broadband once implemented, as it ‘empowers the consumer to have the final say’.