Full mobile number portability from July: Ravi Shankar Prasad


NEW DELHI: Communications and Information Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that full mobile number portability will become operational across the country from July and consumers will get to keep the same numbers even when changing the telecom service provider.

He also announced on 2 June 2015 that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will offer free roaming all over the country from 15 June.

The telecom minister further added that spectrum sharing and trading policy would go to the Cabinet this month.

Last month, BSNL introduced an unlimited free calling scheme from 9 pm and 7 am to revive its landline business. BSNL has the largest number of landline customers, with a market share of 62.26 per cent.

The Minister regretted that BSNL, which had shown profits in 2004, was showing a deficit at present.

When asked about frequent call drop complaints by consumers, the Minister said he has asked officials if a scheme of disincentive for the operators can be put in place.

"Call drops are due to lack of towers. As far as installation is concerned it is subject to local law. No point to raise bogey of cell tower radiation and then complain of call drop," Prasad said.  

Additionally, answering a question relating to the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act 2000, Prasad said that the government fully backs freedom of speech.

Section 66A defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet. A conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail and a fine.

The Supreme Court is already examining the constitutional validity of Section 66A of the amended IT Act following a batch of petitions alleging the section impinges upon the Fundamental Right to freedom of speech and expression.

The Minister said, “The case was pending in the court before I joined the ministry.”

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