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Telcos blame govt for delay in number portability
With India failing to keep its January 1 deadline for the implementation of number portability — the facility that allows mobile customers to change their operator, but retain their number — private telcos have now shifted the blame for this delay on the government.

The Cellular Operators Association of India, the body representing operators on the GSM platform, has now said that the delays were on account of the government has failing to carry out comprehensive testing that is critical to ensure correct call routing post MNP implementation. “The test schedule by Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) in this regard is yet to be finalised,” explained COAI’s officiating director general T R Dua.

The industry body has also added that the processes required to be put in place to address security concerns in the post MNP scenario were yet to be defined.

“In spite of repeated request by the industry, the MNP operators in the two zones are yet to interconnect with each other so as to ensure a cost efficient and robust MNP solution. In a phase wise implementation of MNP, there is a concern that a subscriber calling a ported number from a service area where MNP is not implemented in the first phase may not be able to get through. Hence it is important for all networks to be MNP ready in the first phase itself so as to ensure successful call completion. This concern is yet to be addressed,” Mr Dua added. He also said that operators had conveyed these concerns to the government. Mr Dua also said that he delay in the introduction of MNP was beyond the control of the service providers.

But last week, minister for Communications, Gurudas Kamat told lawmakers in the upper house of Parliament that MNP was delayed since operators had not completed upgradation of their networks. In another move that could derail the implementation of MNP in the country, the home ministry has also pointed out that minority shareholders of US-based Telcordia Technologies (one of the two companies chosen to implement this technology here) 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 India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) review its clearance granted earlier to the US-headquartered company to operate in India.

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