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Number portability beyond circles in, roaming charges out

Mobile users will be able to retain their numbers even if they relocate from one telecom circle to another and will not be required to pay hefty roaming charges while travelling out of their home city from end-March next year.

The Telecom Commission, which is the highest decision making authority within the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), on Wednesday, accepted the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on full-fledged mobile number portability (MNP). Full MNP will now be implemented by March 31, 2015.

However, Telecom Commission’s decision will be placed before Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for final approval. At present, mobile users can change service operators within the circle.

Trai, in its recommendation, had suggested that telecom operators should be given six months to make necessary changes in their network from the date the proposal is cleared.

Earlier, the operators had said they would require around $ 10 million to build the enabling infrastructure for the nationwide roll-out of MNP.

Implementation of full MNP is expected to help pan-Indian players gain subscribers at the cost of the operators, whose customers relocate to states they are not present in.

According to sector data, free roaming is likely to benefit at least 12 per cent of mobile users.

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