Mobile phone operators are again in persuasion to delay the operation of mobile number portability (MNP) as the telecom regulator has set this month as the final deadline for preparation to introduce the much awaited service in August.
The private operators -Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink – in a letter to the telecom regulator said they would not be able to implement the MNP until some “regulatory, technical and commercial” aspects are resolved.
They said MNP has been stumbled again due to a new regulatory directive issued by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on July 25.
BTRC has decided to launch the MNP service on August 1 after completing necessary preparations by July 31.
However, BTRC acting Chairman Md Jahurul Haque today told BSS that they are optimistic of launching the MNP service as per their stipulated time.
“Our concerned division is working to introduce the MNP operation in time,” he added.
Earlier, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) sought two months time on technical ground which was declined by the telecom regulator. Later, the technical aspects were settled to introduce the service in May, but it was not possible and then BTRC set the new deadline.
The operators said, in the new directive, duty and responsibilities of international gateway (IGW) operators for MNP execution have been passed on to the mobile phone operators.
But, according to the ILDTS (international long distance telecommunication service) policy and the MNP guideline, respective operators are supposed to manage such works from their end. It will be a violation of clause 5.2 and 6.4 clauses of ILDTS policy and clause 5.3 of MNP guideline schedule 7 (4), they added.
The operators said, “There is no room for accommodating any change at this stage keeping 31st July 2018 as MNP launch date.”
The assigned MNP Operator, Infozillion BD Teletech Consortium Limited (IBTCL) has connected the mobile network operators (MNOs), public switched telephone network (PSTN) operators and other operators with the MNP platform.
Talking to BSS, IBTCL Managing Director Mabroor Hossain said “We will be fully prepared by July 20 to offer the much awaited service.”
“We will get a comprehensive result within 15 days as we will go for user acceptance test next week,” he revealed.
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 said they have completed their preparations related to the hardware and software two 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 user can port to another operator retaining his/her number unchanged at Taka 30 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.