Mobile number portability (MNP) allows mobile phone subscribers to retain their existing phone number when changing their service operator. Now, years after playing the waiting game, MNP finally arrived in India on 20th Jan, 2011 after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a draft of various regulations for its introduction.
According to certain estimates, the TRAI believes that as many as 10% of subscribers will switch their operators in the first year. However, this figure will drastically reduce because operators will be compelled to provide better service. Another interesting fact is that there are only two major players in the CDMA market i.e. Reliance and Tata and they provide good GSM services as well.
Currently, however, there are no good CDMA handsets available because the GSM industry is booming due to advancement in technology and excellent features in smart phones. Even the major players in the CDMA market do not provide good handsets. Reliance started manufacturing better handsets but it is now very difficult to lure back the same number of customers who existed before MNP was introduced. Also, the 3G feature may become the deciding factor given that all operators do not provide it.
Another feature of MNP is that pre-paid customers will not have an option to carry forward their balance and for post-paid users, all the dues will have to be cleared before operators are switched. The procedure for changing your operator is also explained later. It will take a maximum of four days to switch over and in the north-eastern states and J&K; it may take up to 12 days. Operators charge a nominal port-in fee of Rs.19 for MNP which is fixed by the TRAI. BSNL is the only service provider who will not charge this port-in fee from those customers who switch to BSNL.
If a customer changes his/her mind after applying for operator change, the application can be withdrawn within 24 hours. However, the port-in fee of Rs.19 will not be refunded.
There is also a downtime of 2 hours when the numbers are being ported i.e. you cannot use your number during this time and both incoming and outgoing services will be down. However, since this work will be carried out between 12-5am, subscribers will not be affected to a high extent.
The only restriction is that operators can be changed only once in 90 days and that too within your region only. This is to ensure that users do not misuse the facility and switch frequently.
Procedure for Mobile number porting
- First send an SMS to 1900 from your current number-PORT <Your Mobile Number> e.g. PORT 123456789
- You will be assigned a unique porting code which you have to send to the operator you want to switch to via SMS. This number will be given through ads or on the operator’s website. However, this code is valid only for a few days. So, you have to act quickly.
- The new operator will communicate with your existing operator to ensure you don’t have any dues pending. After confirmation, your existing operator will give the approval for number porting.
- You will have to fit a form and submit relevant documents. If you are a post-paid customer, you will have to submit a copy of your latest bill also.
- After completing these formalities, you will get an SMS for the porting time and date. As per TRAI regulations, it is compulsory to complete the entire process within four days.
Happy Switching Folks!!