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DoT plans country-wide MNP launch by March 31
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The Department of Telecom (DoT) on Thursday said that mobile number portability (MNP), the facility that allows cellphone users to change their telecom operator, but retain their cellphone number, will be introduced in all parts of the country from March 31.

“The government has now decided to implement it in whole of the country in one go, by March 31, 2010,” the ministry of communications and information technology said in a statement on Thursday. But, as per the original plan, mobile users in metros and category A circles like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra were slated to avail this provision from January 1, 2010, while the rest of the country would have had access to MNP from April 1, next year.

But this deadline could not be met after many telecom companies informed DoT that they would require more time for upgrading their networks.

ET first reported in its edition on December 31 (Thursday) that DoT plans to implement MNP across the country simultaneously from April 1, 2010.

But, another move that could derail the implementation is that the home ministry has pointed out that minority shareholders of the US-based Telcordia Technologies were only a front, and had no experience in running telecom operations.

The home ministry has also raised concerns regarding Telcordia’s presence in Pakistan and has sought that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) review its clearance granted earlier to the US-headquartered company to operate in India. Earlier this week, FIPB had deferred clearing Telcordia’s proposal due to the Pakistan link.

When contacted, Telcordia spokesperson said: “We would like to confirm that we are not in receipt of any communication from the ministry of home affairs. Telcordia has set up a JV in India, complying with the laws of the land. Telcordia are in full compliance of DoT’s conditions stipulated in the MNP licence.

DoT’s requirements had stipulated that the Indian entity should have a foreign partner with relevant expertise in mobile number portability.”

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