Draft NTP clears way for number portability

New Delhi, Nov 15 | Updated: Nov 16 2005, 05:30am hrs
The draft New Telecom Policy (NTP) - 2005 has cleared the way for number portability and carrier access code (CAC).

Number portability allows a subscriber to retain his number while choosing to avail services of a different operator. On the other hand, CAC allows the customer to pre-select his preferred long-distance service providers while making calls. Those were some of the long pending demands of the private operators.

The draft NTP has fixed a 12-month deadline for implementation of the number portability policy. It says, A suitable framework for the implementation of number portability will be put in place, no later than 12 months from the date of this policy.

Citing that several countries in the world have adopted the policy of number portability, the draft NTP says, Non-portability of numbers creates exit barriers (for consumers) and reduces effective competition in the market. It says the time is appropriate for introduction of number portability in India as the country is one of the largest telecom markets in the world, which has been de-regulated substantially in most segments.

Number portability allows customer retain his phone number while choosing to avail services of other operator
Carrier access code allows customer to pre-select his preferred long-distance service providers while making calls
Regarding CAC, the draft provides for direct access to customers for all services providers. As per the draft NTP, such direct access will pave way for all service providers to offer value-added services, including internet, to customers of other operators. The draft provides for making available affordable and improved services to customers, which would be possible only through vibrant competition and customer choice.

It says, Each service provider will offer other service providers direct access to its customers for transport and value-added services (NLD, ILD, internet, DSL, etc). This will be enforced through the carrier access code and pre-selection methods.

Private players had earlier demanded unbundling of the last- mile connectivity on BSNL and MTNLs subscribers for offering broadband services to customers.