Modalities for number portability being worked out: Raja

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) Telecom Minister A Raja today said the government's move to introduce number portability by the end of this fiscal can take some more time as different modalities of the issue are being worked out.

''We are working out the other modalities for number portability and one will have to wait for some time,'' Mr Raja said.

The government on November 12 had announced that the much-awaited number portability, which will allow mobile users to switch their service provider while retaining the same number, will be started initially in the four metropolitan cities by March 2008.

Recently BSNL, MTNL and Airtel welcomed and supported the number portability, saying it should be implemented nationwide instead of four metros -- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

In its ongoing exercise to resolve various issues plaguing the telecom sector like a formula on mobile number portability and auction-based spectrum allocation the committee, headed by DoT Additional Secretary R Bandhopadhyay and comprising representatives from GSM and CDMA operators met for the second time yesterday and will again meet on November 30.

''The parties have met and after the exercise with the secretary is over, if necessary I will meet the operators,'' Mr Raja said.

Mr Raja said that the Prime Minister's Office was not getting involved in the process and a dialogue between the operators and the PMO was not on cards.

Mr Raja, however, looked at an early settlement on the issue as he said that ''as a minister I have accountability towrads the Prime Minister and Parliament.'' TEC had given its report on spectrum allocation norms earlier this month, suggesting manifold increase in subscribers for allocation of additional airwaves.

Communication Minister A Raja had accepted the report in-principle, but in view of strong protests from GSM operators -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular -- the government constituted a panel to revisit the norms.

''The TEC report is due and the committee is already met twice or thrice,'' Mr Raja told reporters.

The committee has to give a report by the end of this month.

On the issue of BSNL applying for nationwide, full-fledged CDMA service Mr Raja said since corss technology permitted, BSNL is entitled for CDMA service licence.


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