Consumers may not have to pay more than Rs 300 to change from one mobile service provider to another while keeping the phone number intact, a facility likely to start from September 20.
"It will be one time cost for subscribers seeking portability but the charge is not yet finalised by the department of telecommunication and the telecom Regulatory Authority of India, on which they are working.So far, it seems the charges would not be more than Rs 300 but this could be even below Rs 200," sources close to the developments told PTI.
Deliberations by the government is being carried out to keep cost and charges at a level so as not to discourage subscribers willing to change their service provider, an optional facility, and at the same time make the service providers a viable business model, they said.
The charge is directly linked to the number of subscribers, who would seek the change in service provider out of the total mobile user base of about 400 million.
The DoT has offered licence to Syniverse Technologies for north and western region and MNP Interconnection Telecom Ltd for eastern and southern region to rollout number portability across the country.
There is no comparable market in the 50-60 countries which has adopted number portability as the pre-paid subscriber base in the country is almost 90 per cent of the total subscriber base and has low average revenue per user.
"Majority of the countries had initially levied charge to mobile subscribers seeking to switch their service provides but five years later majority of them were forced to waive it and the same is paid by the winning mobile operator," MNP Interconnection Telecom chairman (designate) and president,Interconnection Solutions, Telcordia, Richard Jacowleff said.
Telcordia is a US-based telecom solutions provider and is the 74 per cent stake holder in Indian JV MNP.
The combined investment in the first phase by MNP Interconnection Telecom and Syniverse Technologies is estimated to be $20 million for installing and managing number portability clearing house and centralised datacenter.
Both the companies hope to launch the service on the same day -- tentatively September 20 for the first phase of launch.
However, that would be possible if telecom operators are also geared with the requisite upgradation of system for the new system, the sources said.
In the first phase, the facility would be launched in the telecom cricles of Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Andra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharastra.
In second phase, the service would be launched in the rest of the 14 circles would be within a year.
Syniverse India operation head Sanjay Kasturia said global average seeking porting in the first year would be 3-4 per cent.
"We will keep our infrastructure ready for 15-20 per cent of total mobile user base initially and scale it up in accordance to the demand," Jacowleff said.