Number Portability from Nov 25; Should we party?

Yet again IT and Telecom minister A Raja has announced a new date of introduction of the MNP (Mobile Number Portability) facility. Accordingly, the service will be rolled out in 11 cities across the country, and the first place to have the service is Haryana. The service in the rest of the 11 cities is said to be implemented by December 20.

Now, the fabled MNP, that basically lets you retain your cell number ever as you change the mobile operators (for a fee of course) has been a hotly debated and argued subject in the Indian telecom space. According to many analysts, the introduction of MNP will truly be a game-changer. Not surprisingly then, that the status-quoist well-entrenched telecom operators, who are accustomed to adding a few million more subscribers month on month, are dragging their feet on the same.

Little wonder, we already have missed 3 deadlines for the launch of the service. MNP deadline had previously been set to December 31, 2009, then to March 31, 2010 and later to June 30, 2010. But time and again, it was found that the operators were not ready with the proper infrastructure to support this facility.

In between, PSU major BSNL, made much fanfare about its readiness and spoke about the launch on November 1, 2010. But then, that did not happen either and now we all await November 25 and the government will be coming out with detailed guidelines and advertisements on the same pretty soon.

So now that MNP is all set to be a reality, should we uncork that Champagne? Well, you could if you want to drink the Champagne, but wait a bit if you want to celebrate the coming of MNP. Remember that old adage, or rather, let me remind you of two: Many slip between the cup and the lip and the devil is in the detail. Continue reading