India is expected to rollout nation-wide Mobile Number Portability by February 2013, a move that allows subscribers to retain their existing cell phone numbers even if they shift residence from state to another.
“For the timely implementation of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012, the Department of Telecommunications has finalised broad agenda for next three months from December 2012 to February 2013," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.
Under NTP 2012, the government had envisaged implementing nation-wide MNP, or inter-circle MNP. Implementation of MNP will provide wider choices to the subscribers, apart from bringing in a higher degree of competition in the industry as it would compel operators to provide affordable and competitive tariffs.
As of October-end 2012 about 75.14 million subscribers have submitted their requests to different service providers for porting their mobile number, as per the data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Along with nation-wide MNP, the government is also looking at abolishing roaming charges.
Some of the key initiative in course to be completed by February 2013 are approval of spectrum assignment and pricing, unified licences regime, Merger and Acquisition guidelines, finalisation of guidelines for spectrum sharing, creation of fund for R&D and manufacturing and of course, MNP on a nationwide basis, Sibal added.