Govt plans to implement ‘Mobile Number Portability’

Kathmandu, March 28

Not happy with the service of the telecom operator but hesitating to switch owing to hassles of changing the number? A six-month wait could offer you an option that would allow you to change the service provider without the need to change the number you are currently using.

The option is expected to be available soon as the government is gearing up to introduce the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service in the country.

The MNP is a telecom service that enables mobile users to switch from the network of one telecom operator to another while retaining the same mobile telephone number. This means that users subscribing to the network of any of the six telecom service providers in the country can retain their original mobile phone number when changing from one mobile network carrier to another.

For this, the telecommunication sector regulator — Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) — has started initial works to introduce MNP in Nepal and is in the final stage of hiring an international consultant to implement the project. NTA has already shortlisted the proposal of three companies, one each from India, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and is preparing to seek detailed proposal from these consultant firms in second phase.

“We will soon ask for a detailed proposal from these selected companies and appoint one of them as the consultant for the MNP project in Nepal. The selected consultant company will be responsible to recommend NTA on the modality of MNP implementation in Nepal and international practices on MNP,” Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA, said.

Based on the recommendation of the consultant, NTA will also appoint a third party company that will be responsible to operate MNP in the country by migrating the service from one telecom operator to another as per the demand of customers. The third party will also be responsible to maintain the database of telecom service providers in the country, which is required to implement MNP. NTA will also develop an MNP directive to regulate the service.

As per Aryal, MNP would directly benefit customers as it would provide an option for customers to switch to the best network by retaining the original mobile number.

MNP is a relatively novel service in telecommunication sector, with Singapore and Hong Kong adopting it in late ’90s. Australia, Italy, Germany, France and US had implemented the MNP service in between 2001 to 2003. India implemented MNP in January 2011.

As per some domestic telecom operators who did not wish to be named, the implementation of MNP service would also be beneficial for operators as it will increase competition and push telecom operators to deliver enhanced and quality service.

“As customers would be able to easily switch to another network if an operator is not providing quality service, implementation of MNP would make telcos more committed in delivering quality service and enhanced consumer satisfaction,” a telecom source said.