Australia: MNP gets the Y2K wobbles

The Australian telecommunications industry says although there is no real concern that mobile phone number portability (MNP) will go off the rails, the implementation process is nonetheless as big a job as the dreaded Y2K contingency.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--The Australian telecommunications industry says although there is no real concern that mobile phone number portability (MNP) will go off the rails, the implementation process is nonetheless as big a job as the dreaded Y2K contingency.

To be certain Mobile Number Portability is implemented smoothly by September 25 this year, the carriers are undergoing major testing phases likened to the technological implementation necessary to counteract the Y2K bug.

“There’s still quite a way to go before we can be confident that all the theory will successfully translate into practice,” Joanna Plante at Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) said.

“While there’s been a huge amount of work done already--both cooperatively and individually by each of the mobile carriers--we’re now embarking on the critical final testing stages of the MNP implementation process.”

ACIF is an industry body set up by the telecommunications carriers to implement and manage communications self-regulation within Australia.

According to Plante, the carriers are currently testing individual IT and network systems before an industry-wide testing strategy takes place. The industry pilot is scheduled for the end of August.

“The carriers will set up a production environment to test MNP end-to-end to see that it all works together,” Plante said.

According to the Australian Communications Authority (ACA), some carriers have complained that there is not sufficient time allowed for network testing.

As reported by ZDNet, industry analyst Paul Budde has raised questions as to whether Telstra will try to further delay the MNP process as part of its tactics to delay industry competition.

ACIF says "at this stage", it sees no signs of anything major occurring which would infringe on the timely rollout of the service.

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