MNP Delayed Again

12:05 PM -- The introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) in India has been delayed yet again, this time until June 30, the second time the Department of Telecommunications has postponed the launch. (See AsiaWatch: India Preps Number Portability.)

Originally, the introduction of MNP had been set for the end of 2009, and was then delayed until the end of March.

The DoT has delayed again because three operators -- state-owned carriers Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) , Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) , and startup Uninor -- have not yet installed the required gateways.

Some industry sources believe the two state-owned operators aren't keen to see MNP introduced and will do their best to delay its implementation, because it's widely believed they'll suffer the most from the resulting churn. (See Will Churn Burn India's Mobile Operators?)

And, of course, MNP can't be introduced until all the operators have the required capabilities installed and running. "It is important from an industry point of view that everybody completes it... MNP won't work if everybody has not completed it," noted Reliance Communications Ltd. president Mahesh Prasad in a recent conversation with Light Reading Asia.

Just as with the many delays that hampered the 3G spectrum auction, it might take intervention from the prime minister's office to get MNP implemented. (See India Watch: 3G Wait Over? and Bids Flood In for India's Spectrum Auctions.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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