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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Number portability rules put in place

New Delhi, Aug 1: Mobile phone users will soon be able to switch operators, while retaining their numbers.

The government today said it would grant licences to two mobile number portability service providers in the country. The service providers will function as clearing houses, allowing users to change operators, while keeping their numbers intact. Communications minister A. Raja said that the entities would get licences to start operations in the four metros within the next two months and subsequently be allowed to extend operations to the rest of the country over the next 6-12 months.

A mobile phone operator cannot hold equity, direct and indirect, in a number portability service provider, and vice-versa.

Minimum paid-up capital for a number portability service provider will be Rs 10 crore, while net worth will be Rs 100 crore. A minimum FDI of 26 per cent has been prescribed, with the foreign investor having operated such an enterprise elsewhere.

Raja said the government had fixed a one-time, non-refundable, entry fee of Rs 1 crore for the licence, and the company selected would have to pay an annual fee of 1 per cent of the adjusted gross revenue. “There shall be a moratorium on licence fee payment for the first two years from the effective date of the licence,” he said.

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