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Number portability by 1st week of May: Raja
The government would launch the much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) by the first week of May, starting from Chennai and Bangalore, said Communication and Information Technology Minister A Raja today.

“By May first week, the number portability will be introduced in Chennai and Bangalore,” Raja said, during the launch of 3G services here by state-owned BSNL.

The MNP, which would allow users to switch service providers without changing phone numbers, was earlier scheduled to be introduced in March this year. However, it got delayed as the government was unable to get security clearance for the devices which were imported from other countries.

On the tussle over 3G spectrum issue, the minister said the department was waiting for the advice of the finance and law ministries to clear the deck. “I hope everything will be resolved this week. The Centre is committed to introducing this technology as early as possible,” he added.

Raja said the number of new mobile subscriber additions had gone up phenomenally in the last three years.

In December 2009, India added 19 million telecom subscribers, taking the total number of subscribers to 580 million. He said that India would have 600 million subscribers in the next two months.

“When the National Telecom Policy was devised in 1999, a categorical assurance was given that we are going to achieve 600 million telephone connections by 2012. In December 2009 itself, we have already reached 580 million telephone connections. And in another two months, we will achieve 600 million connections.” The teledensity in the country rose to 40 per cent in December 2009 from 15 per cent in 2007.

BSNL is the first mobile operator to launch 3G services. It has already rolled out 3G services in 300 cities and intends to launch the services in 760 cities across all the four zones by December this year. In Karnataka, BSNL aims to add 32 more cities during the first half of 2010-11.

R K Agarwal, Director (Consumer Mobility), BSNL Board, said the company will soon launch mobile advertisement services, location-based services and various multi-media services over 3G platform. BSNL has invested Rs 2,700 crore in rolling out the 3G services.

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