MNP (Mobile Number Portability) will now be introduced in India by Oct. 31, the country's Department of Telecommunications said on Wednesday.

India has postponed for the third time the implementation of MNP thus delaying for users the opportunity to retain their mobile numbers when changing operators.

The MNP service was originally scheduled to be offered on Dec. 31 last year, starting with four large cities and few more service areas. It was postponed to March 31, and later to June 30.

  Accroding to guidelines proposed by the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ), mobile users will be allowed to use the same mobile number even if providers use different mobile technologies like CDMA (code division multiple access) or GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). GSM is currently the dominant technology used by providers in India.

The government said it has taken the decision to delay MNP to October, after reviewing the readiness of the various access providers and long distance service providers, and keeping in view the complexity and enormity of the testing involved before MNP is implemented.