India's nationwide number portability rollout stalls

Country's full number portability service, which will allow mobile users to retain their number across different telecom circles, faces a delay as the Indian Department of Telecom has yet to accept recommendations for it.

India's Department of Telecom (DoT) has yet to accept recommendations related to the implementation of the country's nationwide mobile number portability, which is originally scheduled to be effective from March. 

Secretary of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Rajeev Agrawal said at a briefing Wednesday that it had not received a response from the telecom department, and noted that telcos would require six months after DoT approves the recommendations to deploy full mobile number portability (MNP). TRAI in September had directed mobile operators to roll out nationwide MNP within six months. 

India had introduced the service in early-2010 , but this enabled mobile users to retain their number when he switched operators only  within a telecom circle or service area . There are 22 circles across the country, which are divided up into four groups--metro, A, B, and C circles--where metro encompasses dense population areas including Delhi and Mumbai, and the other three circles cover geographic territories of varying population sizes. 

Full or nationwide MNP would allow mobile users to retain their number even when they move between telco circles. According to a report by The Times of India, the DoT previously instructed TRAI to rethink some of its recommendations which had suggested changes to the country's license standards. 

Agrawal said TRAI issued fines totaling 22 million rupees (US$355,698) over the past four months and disconnected the telecom facilities of more than 60 real-estate and spa businesses for conducting unsolicited marketing calls. He added that the number of registered telemarketers doubled to more than 6,000 since August, after TRAI reduced the enrolment fee. 

The authority in 2013 also implemented a fine of 28 million rupees (US$452,706) on operators that did not meet service quality benchmarks. Last year, the number of complaints regarding unsolicited communication dropped to 11,200 a month from 44,000 a month in 2012. 


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