The TRAI has released its draft proposal (pdf) for implementation of Mobile Number Portability. As per the document, MNP is to be introduced from June 2009, almost after an one year delay from the governments “second half of 2008” announcement. TRAI has recommended the setting up of a centralized system – Mobile Number Portability Centralized Clearing House (MCH) that is used by mobile Operators to port numbers. The TRAI will be inviting bids from companies – the license shall be awarded for 10 years, for an initial period of 5 years, there shall be only one MCH.
The applicant company and equity holders in the applicant company should have a combined net worth of atleast Rs 100 Crores, and no telecom operator can have a ‘substantial equity’ (10 percent or more) in this entity that will control and manage MNP. At the same time, costs of business and network upgrades to support MNP in its network shall be borne by the mobile operator. The agency will be neutral and FDI limits of 74% would be applicable. Customers will have to approach the recipient operator for porting. Importantly, pre-paid customers will not be able to transfer credit along with their number. Total time to port is restricted to three working days and down time to the subscriber once the port is established should not exceed two hours.
The draft also gives an overview of integration procedures to be followed by operators with the clearing house, but no deadline has been proposed. There’s also a diagrammatic representation of how the MNP will operate (chart). Given that all MNP integration and upgradation costs will have to be borne by the operator, a penalty may be invoked for deadline defaulting operators. One thing that should have been included is the applicability of the Do Not Disturb caveat to the Clearing house as well. The new entity will have tons of data flowing through and besides porting numbers, the blame game for DND responsibility may get shuffled between operators as well.
. Download the draft here