Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has begun “preliminary measures” aimed at introducing nationwide mobile number portability (MNP).
Announcing the move on Twitter, the regulator said: “TRC initiates preliminary steps on implementing number portability which would enable consumers to select service providers without change of existing mobile numbers.”
TRCSL neglected to provide an estimated timeframe for the move, and TeleGeography reports that the pace of introducing MNP to Sri Lanka could be described as glacial. The regulator first considered the idea in 2008 before asking for consulting firms for input on the required regulations in 2010.
Thereafter, little was said on the matter until early 2014, when TCRSL’s then-director general Anusha Palpita stated that MNP had effectively been shelved until a larger percentage of Sri Lanka’s mobile subscribers switched to postpaid plans, arguing that MNP would not be cost-effective with a majority of prepaid subscribers.
At the time, Palpita said: “The main beneficiary of [MNP] and those demanding it [will be] post-paid mobile subscribers. In Sri Lanka’s case, however, we have less than 10% of the total mobile subscriber population owning a post-paid mobile connection. Therefore, in my opinion implementation of MNP will not be cost-effective at the moment.”
Another factor that has deterred TCRSL from pushing ahead with MNP is the implementation costs, as it fears that operators would attempt to pass these on to their user bases. This would disproportionately affect prepaid subscribers who were not benefitting from the service.