AsiaWatch: India Preps Number Portability

Syniverse Technologies LLC and Telcordia Technologies Inc. have emerged as the early winners as India's mobile sector gears up to introduce number portability services, while Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has landed a new infrastructure deal in Indonesia.

India gets ready for mobile switcheroo
India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued letters of intent to Syniverse and Telcordia for them to provide mobile number portability services to the country’s operators, according to The Business Standard and other local media.

The companies will be issued with 10-year licenses, with Syniverse operating in Zone 1 (north and west India) and Telcordia covering Zone 2 (the east and south of the country). The companies must now pay the 10 million Rupee ($194,000) entry fee and introduce services quickly.

The government has previously stated that services should be available in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi by June this year. The initial tender further set out that number portability should be available in metro and category ‘A’ circles within six months and in all areas within a year of the contract award. For a guide to India's telecom circles, see our free guide: A Guide to India's Telecom Operators.

Ashok Sapra, managing director elect of MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions India Pvt., the joint venture company Telcordia has set up to run its service, says the company is on track to deliver in the required timescales.

Sapra says reports that the company is investing Rs450 million ($8.7 million) to deploy the service are generally accurate, although he explained the exact value of any investment will depend on the final technical specifications to be agreed on with the authorities and operators. “We are committed to investing whatever is required to deliver the service,” he told Light Reading.

Both companies will pay an annual license fee of 1 percent of Adjusted Gross Revenue, although this will not come into force for two years after the contract award. Revenue will come from porting fees paid by recipient operators to the number clearing house: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is responsible for setting the per-port price. The regulator had recommended a level of Rs200 or Rs300 ($3.88 or $5.82) in March 2006, but is now looking again at that rate. “Time has elapsed and quite a few things have changed,” said Sapra, who would not be drawn on an expected value.

Telkomsel deal for Ericsson
Ericsson has signed a three-year frame agreement with Indonesia's leading mobile operator, PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) , to supply, deploy, and integrate GSM/EDGE and WCDMA/HSPA radio access network (RAN) infrastructure. (See Ericsson Wins in Indonesia.)

Indonesia has a population of 240 million and reached 60 percent market penetration at the end of 2008 and Telkomsel holds just under 45 percent market share, according to Wireless Intelligence . Telkomsel introduced 3G at the end of 2006 and is in the process of deploying HSPA.

The contract takes effect this month, and extends the existing business partnerships between the two companies. (See Ericsson, Telkomsel Team.)

Other news from the Asia/Pacific region includes:

— Catherine Haslam, Asia Editor, Light Reading

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