POST TIME: 19 June, 2018 12:32:42 AM
Mobile number portability likely to be delayed

Mobile number portability 
likely to be delayed

The launching of the much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service may take some more time due to a delay in technology adoption by ICX operators, according to the Banglaesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

The minister for posts, telecommunications and information technology, Mustafa Jabbar, told The Independent on Wednesday that the MNP service would be launched in the first week of August this year. “The BTRC has been instructed to complete all the preparations by July 31. It's expected that the customers will enjoy the MNP service in the first week of August,” he said.

In the first week of this month, the BTRC held a meeting with the heads of technical departments of all telecom operators to know the progress of the technical work for launching the service. At that meeting, mobile phone operators informed the BTRC that they almost completed the work and now needed technical support from the ICX.

This has been confirmed by the technical officer of a mobile phone operator present at the meeting.

The BTRC has alleged that ICX operators have been asked to adopt the technology at the earliest, but they have not taken any such step.

“It's not slow work. We're only taking some time for this. We're also thinking about how sustainable the new investment would be as our business is in trouble,” an ICX operator said, preferring anonymity.

The BTRC said it would be tough to launch the MNP service by July 31 without support from all associated organisations. But the regulatory body is trying its best to launch the service by the stipulated time.

There are 26 ICX operators in Bangladesh at present.

Earlier, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, had directed the ministry concerned to complete all preparations and review them within July 31 to prevent any delay.

Infozillion BD Teletech Consortium Ltd received the licence to launch the MNP service.

In February, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) sought two months for adopting the technology of the service. The BTRC did not grant the AMTOB’s request. Later, it was alleged that mobile phone operators were trying to prevent the launch of the MNP service.

Following this, the AMTOB issued a circular: “As a customer-centric industry, mobile network operators (MNOs) are very keen to facilitate their customers in choosing the operator of their choice by availing the MNP service. Just like many other countries of the world, we strongly believe our customers deserve to enjoy this freedom.”

More than 72 countries have MNP, which increases competition among operators in terms of service quality, said BTRC officials. Mobile phone subscribers will have the privilege to switch to other operators while retaining their existing phone numbers after the service is launched.