The much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service will be available for the country’s cell phone customers from October 1, said chief of the telecom regulatory body.
Talking to BSS today, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman (Acting) Md Jahurul Haque said they are ready to launch the service in the early hour of October 1.
“No possibility is there to miss this deadline,” he added, as the launching of MNP was differed earlier because of the noncooperation of the mobile phone operators.
Officials said all the mobile phone operators, public switched telephone network (PSTN) operators and other operators have already been connected with the platform of the assigned MNP firm – Infozillion BD Teletech Consortium Limited (IBTCL).
IBTCL Managing Director Mabroor Hossain said as per the directive of the telecom regulator, they are fully prepared to offer the service on October 1.
“We are running trial of the service (MNP) successfully overcoming all technical glitches,” he added.
Officials said the operators became compliance following some regulatory decisions such as the reset of porting charge at Taka 50 from Taka 30 and reduction of per port transaction charge at Taka 100 from Taka 150.
Market leader Grameenphone is also prepared, but its official comment was not available.
In terms of subscribers, number two operator of the market, Robi said it is waiting for MNP. Executive Vice President and Head of Regulatory Affairs of the operator Shahed Alam told BSS that they are full ready to offer the service to the customers.
Besides, Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer of Banglalink said they are prepared to implement the MNP service in accordance with the government’s guidelines.
“Once the service is implemented, customers would no longer need to change their mobile numbers in case they want to switch from one network (operator) to another,” he said, adding, “We believe that this facility will play a vital role in ensuring their freedom of choice in the days to come.”
On November 30 last year, the telecom regulator handed over the MNP license to the selected joint venture firm IBTCL.
The company, IBTCL, a joint venture of Infozillion BD Limited and Teletech DOO, Slovenia, was directed to provide the service within 180 days of getting the license.
About the delay, Mabroor Hossain earlier had said they completed their preparations related to the hardware and software several months ago.
Reluctant to blame anyone for the delay, he said, “MNOs, PSTNs, IGWs, ICXs, ANSs and other operators are involved with the process that is why huge technical complexities are involved with the system.”
According to the MNP guidelines, IBTCL had to port at least one per cent of the mobile phone subscribers through the service by May this year (2018).
More than 72 countries have MNP, which increases competition among operators in terms of service quality, said officials.
Once the service is introduced, the mobile phone users can port to another operator retaining his/her number unchanged at Taka 50 plus VAT and the process would take highest 72 hours. If any user again wants to change operator, he/she has to wait 90 days.