New Delhi: Though the government is yet to act on TRAI's year-old recommendations for the framing of a policy on number portability in mobile phone services, the code division multiple access (CDMA) operators seem to have come around to somewhat of a consensus and have stressed on a need for it.
Number portability enables customers to switch service providers, without having to change their mobile telephone number. Number portability is largely viewed as an important and effective tool to ensure competition in the telecom market, as it provides for the customer being able to select their service provider, without impacting themselves with the usual communication issues brought on by the change of a mobile phone number.
A letter to communications minister A Raja, with the CDMA service providers being represented by the Association of Unified Service Providers of India (AUSPI), is learnt to urge the Department of Telecom (DoT) to issue necessary guidelines for implementing mobile number portability.
CDMA players have been favouring number portability across both fixed line and mobile networks. Breaking their agenda into two, more-manageable parts, they now seem be focused on pursuing the latter as a more achievable aim in the time being.
AUSPI secretary general SC Khanna, in his letter to the communications minister has advocated this by saying that in case fixed-number portability cannot be implemented at this point of time for whatever reason, mobile number portability should be dealt with independent of fixed line mobility.
Global system for mobile communications (GSM) service providers, who are represented by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), are presently opposed to the idea of number portability in mobile telephony, and would like to see a further maturing of the telecom market before customers are allowed to take their phone numbers with them.
CDMA operators include Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices. GSM operators comprise Bharti, Vodafone Essar, Idea, Aircel, and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.