Chanuka Wattegama has made a strong case for MNP to be examined at a public hearing. LIRNEasia has some relevant research, but the material below is all Chanuka’s. I was traveling and did not see this piece until today.
While not unfamiliar to North America and Europe, Pakistan and India were the only South Asian countries to implement MNP. Pakistan maintains a central database with all its mobile user data. The investment as well as the maintenance of this comes from all operators and it is not small. This is in addition to the upgrades to be done by the operators. Each major mobile operator has spent approximately USD 3-4 mil (roughly LKR 350 – 450 mil) worth of software and hardware upgrades in their switches. While the initial cost of setting up the database was USD 2.3 mil (LKR 250 mil), each operator spends USD 50,000 (LKR 6 mil) towards its annual maintenance. As of January 2011, Pakistan, a country of 187 mil population and 796,000 sq km area had 104 mil SIMs issued by five mobile operators; Mobilink (32 mil SIMs), Ufone (20 mil), Zong (9 mil); Telenor (25 mil) and Warid (18 mil). This looks massive against Sri Lanka’s 20 mil SIMs, but as any systems designer can immediately work out, the costs will not be drastically slashed. A safe bet would be 40-50% of above costs are for MNP in Sri Lanka. It couldn’t be less.