From June ’09, your mobile number is yours

Friday, April 11, 2008 | | |

By June 2009 your mobile number will become yours to keep, as long as you are paying your bills. You can change your operator, but your number will remain the same.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has suggested this deadline in a letter to department of telecommunications (DoT) secretary Siddhartha Behura.

Last November, DoT had indicated that number portability would be implemented by December 2008 in the metros. The new time-table covers the whole country.

The deadline is more realistic since implementation of number portability needs additional investments and an enabling mechanism, including the creation of a Mobile Number Portability Clearing House Administrator.

Trai chairman Nripendra Misra said the government should come out with a road-map for implementing number portability. Covering the whole country could “facilitate planning at the telecom service providers’ level,” Misra has added.

The regulator, in a recommendation on Friday, has also requested DoT to grant a licence to neutral or third parties to set up a clearing house administrator through competitive bidding. This administrator would have to follow the norms applicable to any telecom service provider, including foreign investment limits.

Elaborating on the norms for number portability, Trai has said no credit transfer will be allowed to the new account, in case a pre-paid mobile user shifts over to a new service provider.

Also, there would be a ‘break before make’ arrangement for completion of the porting process. That is, the connection of the donor network has to be snapped before the recipient network is made. The regulator has stressed that the break period (disconnected period) should not be more than two hours, but initially the total time taken to port a number may be up to three days.