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DoT bars non-MNP compliant cos from launching new services
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Cracking down on operators for delaying the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) in the country, department of telecom (DoT) on Wednesday barred existing as well as new service providers from launching any new commercial services after September 1, if their network is not MNP ready.

This implies that operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular as well as new operators such as MTS, Uninor and Tata DoCoMo will be unable to launch new services in case they fail to implement MNP by the specified deadline. MNP will allow mobile users to switch their operator while retaining their number, but operators have missed the deadline to implement it four times since last year. Last month, the government extended the deadline to October 31, after service providers failed to implement it by June 30. The telecom department, in a note released on Wednesday, said that the operators must ensure that all inter-operator tests for porting the numbers from one service provider to another are completed before September 1, 2010.

The telecom operators in a meeting with the government early this month said that the MNP gateways will be ready by the October 31 deadline set by the department of telecommunication.

State-owned telcos BSNL and MTNL have also said they are ready to implement the service. Both the telcos had earlier informed the government about their inability to implement the system before April for a variety of reasons such as lack of time to tweak technology, tariff plans and billing, among others.

The implementation is also being delayed as the government is contemplating to cancel the licence to one of the two firms selected to implement MNP in India. Telcordia and Syniverse are the two players who were to see through the process.

But last year the home ministry raised concerns against US-based Telcordia stating its minority shareholders were only a front who had no experience in running telecom operations. It also added that the company had a presence in Pakistan.

The government is currently reviewing Telcordia’s MNP licence.
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