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Hardik Patel

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Who is gaining in mobile number portability services?

  NEW DELHI, INDIA: About 20 lakh mobile subscribers have opted for new service providers ever since the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) services with Vodafone making a maximum gain, says a PTI report.

According to the report, the state-owned BSNL lost more customers than it attracted from other service providers.MUMBAI, INDIA: In this interview, Sanjay Kasturia, Syniverse's vice president and also the CEO of the company’s joint venture, Syniverse Technologies India Private Limited, talks to Pankaj Maru about Syniverse's strengthen in providing platform to operators for MNP, the trends of subscribers' choice for MNP and his experience of working in India. Read on...

Syniverse Technologies has implemented the clearing house and centralized database for MNP to the mobile operators. So, can you brief about what kind of IT infrastructure, technology and resources (including man-power) have been used in setting up the clearing house facility for the MNP initiative and what kind of investments have been made?

Syniverse has been able to build the MNP infrastructure that leverages its vast experience worldwide by bringing in the industry’s best number portability experts to the task.

Syniverse already has extensive experience providing not only the technical infrastructure behind number portability – the database part of the equation – but also it has successfully implemented the additional critical operator-side MNP gateway systems (with some of the Indian operators) that individual mobile operators need to ensure their own systems are able to provide subscribers with seamless, end-to-end portability.

As you are probably aware, Syniverse has a deep experience with number portability and has played a key role in MNP implementations in a number of countries around the world, including in the United Kingdom, Finland, Singapore, the United States and Canada. The transition in those locations to MNP has been nearly seamless for both the operators and the subscribers, and we are experiencing the same successful process in India with the Haryana launch.

There are multiple teams managing different tasks to ensure the porting process is smooth for the end subscribers. We would not like to provide numbers here as part of the work of managing the datacentre operations have been outsourced to TCS.

When it comes to financials, we do not disclose the exact investment costs or projected revenues. However, we do plan the appropriate amount of investment in projects to ensure that operators and subscribers are provided a world-class number portability solution and that has been our overriding objective for our MNP roll-out in India this month.

Since Syniverse has been awarded the zone-1 by DoT, what would be the average number of applications per month per telecom circle that you are expecting for processing?

It is too early to comment on it since the MNP went live in all circles on January 20, 2011.

Given Syniverse's past experiences, what kind of customer shift you expect in India – will it be CDMA to GSM or vice verse? What will be the average number of users that would be availing MNP facility?

We definitely see a shift from CDMA to GSM. We still have to see if this trend continues once the momentum picks up after the pan-India launch on January 20. As regards to the porting rate as seen in Haryana, there has been an initial enthusiasm in terms of higher port rate of 4-5 per cent and we feel it will stabilize to the levels of 2-3 per cent which is in line with the global trends.

In India, the number of mobile operators, whether GSM or CDMA, are more compared to other countries. So, what challenges do you see in such a situation in meeting the customers' expectation as well as that of the operators for the MNP initiative?

From Syniverse's perspective, the implementation of the entire system has not been challenging at all. Syniverse has a deep experience with number portability and, as said earlier, it has played key roles in MNP implementations in a number of countries around the world.