Telecom department asks TRAI for recommendations on fixed line portability

Telecom department asks TRAI for recommendations on fixed line portability

New Delhi: In four-five years from now, you would be able to take your landline number wherever you go, from any ‘x’ place to ‘y’ in the country, even as you change your service provider. This is because the Department of Telecommunications has sent a reference to the regulator to frame recommendations on fixed line number portability, a senior official familiar with the development told Mint.

“The DoT has sent a reference to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on fixed line portability as it is part of the government’s National Digital Communications Policy-2018. This will facilitate the government’s policy to have ‘one nation, one number’, the official said.

Portability simply means the consumer keeping the same number while changing its service provider. Porting is now possible within a circle and even when the consumer moves outside the circle and wants to move to a different service provider.

The official said fixed line portability is a more complicated exercise and hence the entire consultation process to the final stage of issuing recommendations is going to be a long drawn out one

He said porting out a landline number would take longer than the time it takes to port out a mobile number currently — 2-4 days. Issues like last mile copper connectivity and presence of a fixed line service provider in the area could be reasons holding back porting out of a landline number.

“Once implemented, landline numbers will have 10 digits in them," the official said. Landline numbers currently comprise seven to eight digits. The STD code will be merged with the landline number, making it a 10-digit number, he said.

Mobile number portability (MNP) in mobile services has been a reality for more than eight years and has proven to be a boon for many, giving users the flexibility to opt for a different service provider if dissatisfied with network or billing.

Intra-service area MNP was implemented first in Haryana service area with effect from November 2010 and in the rest of the country from January the very next year. Inter-service area MNP was implemented from July 2015.

Between November 2010 and March-end 2019, 428.40 million users have requested for porting out their number, according to TRAI data. At the end of March, there were 21.69 million landline connections in the country, as against 1.16 billion mobile subscribers, as per TRAI.