State-run telecom companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd will be ready to implement the mobile number portability service by the new deadline of March 31.
"There will be no delay from our side. We are very keen on this service as it will help us in garnering more subscribers," BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goel told Business Standard.
He said the PSU is ready with its network on both services - GSM as well as CDMA. The company was waiting for clearance of equipment for setting up gateways from the Department of Telecommunications, which has now come through. "We will place orders for setting up gateways within a day or two," Goel said.
A senior MTNL official also said the company would be ready to implement MNP on schedule. "We will issue purchase orders shortly," the official said.
MNP would allow mobile users to change their service providers, while retaining their numbers. This new service is likely to improve the quality of services offered by various players. That's because the introduction of MNP is expected to force mobile operators to both lure and retain subscribers by various incentives and schemes.
After issuing purchase orders, it will take at least a month for the PSUs to get the networks ready. Testing will take another four weeks. Entire networks need to be tested among all the operators before the launch of the MNP service.
MNP was earlier scheduled to start from December 31, last year in all the metros and in the rest of the country by March this year. But some of the mobile operators, including some new players, asked for more time to upgrade their networks. As a result, the government pushed the launch date to March 31 all across the country.
Telecom regulator Trai has fixed Rs 19 as the charge to be paid by a subscriber to avail the MNP service. The whole process of shifting from one operator to another would take a maximum of four days.
According to industry estimates, about 25 per cent of mobile users would like to shift to a new service provider. There are over 500 million mobile subscribers across the country. MNP has already been implemented in such countries as the US, Australia and Pakistan.