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Mobile Number Portability In India On November 25th 2010; Who Cares?

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I wouldn’t blame you if Mobile Number Portability in India reminds you of the famous ‘Tareekh pe tareekh” dialogue from Bollywood (translates as deferment after deferment). The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has now announced that MNP in India will be launched first in the Haryana circle, on November 25th, 2010. But, hopefully, this is the end of it: according to the DoT, the networks are now technically ready for launch of service, which essentially suggests that BSNL, MTNL and Uninor are now ready (it had suggested earlier that they weren’t). However, DoT has said that MNP will be launched across the country in a phased manner, and a detailed schedule will be announced separately, which suggests that they’re still buying time.

The Process

– Customers will have to send an SMS from their phone to 1900
– They will get a unique porting code as SMS from the existing service provider.
– The customer can then make an application in the prescribed form mentioning the code to the selected new service provider for porting of number.
– A period of 4 days has been prescribed for completion of porting (transfer) of the mobile number to the network of the new service provider.

More details on MNP rules in our previous report.

Sounds friction-less, but lets see what happens on-ground. This might not be easy if the porting code has to come from the existing service provider, and not an independent porting authority.


Will Users Churn Out?

At the time when MNP was initially being discussed, the rationale was that customers are beholden to a single number, and this prevents them from switching to a telecom operator with more attractive plans, or better service or network reach. Over the time that it’s taken to decide on and implement MNP, we’re wondering if it has been made redundant by a multi-SIM environment. Consumers, for the want of a better service or to take advantage of multiple plans, are now keeping multiple SIM cards: this has led to an increase in demand for dual SIM handsets in India, and new telecom operators are openly talking about trying to become the primary SIM.

That said, some incumbent operators, like Loop Mobile, might find users who have been with them for a decade, churning out to competitors; alternatively, or even users trying out another operator for their secondary SIM, for a better plan.

Who do you think will be hit more by MNP – incumbent or the new telecom operators?


Rules & Criteria For Applying For Mobile Number Portability In India

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  • This is absolutely crazy!

  • Hari

    next date will me announced on nov 25…
    TRAI trying to fool people…

    • Rahul

      Absolutely right, MNP has really lost its charm and people now actually forgot what MNP was. Now people have shifted to Dual SIM option instead of MNP.

  • Rahul

    One interesting fact ::
    I was going through the rules for MNP and one interesting rule is
    Per Port Transaction Charges: Recipient operators have to pay the MNP provider per port transaction charges on a monthly basis.
    In that case does the subscriber (Customer) affected??
    Will he /she pays more than the normal customers for that new service provider?
    and since MNP is new, it always sounds nice, but we are not aware about its consequences !!!! it can be known once its get implemented, and nobody is aware about the hidden charges of MNP as of now. If the new operator has to pay some fees to MNP provider then I m sure there must be some hidden cost for MNP churners after their joining (May be their call cost would be higher than the normal Customers etc..)
    Your comments are welcome on

  • Will we still have mobile operator/circle traceability after the number portability comes into force?

  • harsh

    next date on mnp will be given on 25 nov.trai pls stop fooling people,its almost 3yrs that mnp is launching.its better dnt launch it.

  • charu

    vats happening????…will dis MNP thng ever cm into d market or jst b in news as it is since so many yrs!!!!

  • luddite

    right now the operators do what they feel like, the quality of their network and coverage is dropping day by day, customer care is a joke with a general attitude that the customer is a dumbass and the customer care 'executive' has taken on the burden of teaching us the ways of life, and ofcourse the tariff plans are perfectly designed to screw us over without fail, while seeming like they were made with unconditional love for the customer in mind.

    apparently it will only cost rs19 (max) to switch, and hopefully the operators will improve their services (and rates) due to the increased competition. as to the operators that would be hit badly because of this, well, too bad they need to buck up and find ways to make themselves attractive to the customers theyve been getting the benefit of customer loyalty due to their phone number for a while now and if they haven't used that opportunity to showcase their value to the customers then its their loss. its a dog-eat-dog world, its time they realised and finally in this industry the customer will have some value again.

  • Atul Jagga

    Mobile Number Portability – A must for reviving maturing industries

    With the Indian telecom industry reaching a level that looks at maturity and directs to the consolidation with an overall teledensity of more than 50% and with Urban India having more than 100%, the scenario is indicating us to believe that the satiation of the mobile needs of the Indian population is closer than thought.

    But, looking at a macro level, one feels the need to think that is this actually true. Assuming that the industry is mature, is the Indian Telecom subscriber finally settled with an established mobile connection or is the number that he currently has, the number that he would carry forever.

    Looking at another fact which states that the Penetration of multiple sims has crossed the benchmark of 60% , one tends to believe that Indian Customer is still at a very volatile stage, where he is experimenting with the newer connections and exploiting the telecom operators with the ease of getting new connections.

    With the above fact in place, one tends to feel that the industry is still in a volatile state and thus distant from maturity.

    But, since both the above data points are vertically opposite, so there has to be a logically mapping for the same.

    The fact lies in the demography and physical spread of India. Since India occupies 2.4% of the world land, with 17.5% of the population, thus India cannot be clubbed into a simple category especially when the parameter is of telecom maturity.

    Further to above, growth of Indian Telecom industry can be broadly divided into 2 different classes which is first the established working class and the higher strata and second the youth and the lower strata.

    The first lot comprises of people with whom the adjective established can be tagged, who are the genuine people to have some what matured in their telecom needs. These are those, who believe that their identity is synonymous with their mobile number. It comprises of the elite class carrying a fixed mobile number since their first connection and of the lot who transact their businesses through the same mobile number. They are the ones with much higher than the average ARPU of 144 Indian Rupees, and perhaps in the wish list of every telecom operator.

    The second lot is of either the youth or the lower strata, which is clubbed together for a simple common phenomena that their mobile phone is least closer to their identity, instead closer to a particular need satisfying gadget. This is the segment which stands as a more volatile lot, with the combined ARPU splitting between different mobile connections. The characteristic of this lot is that their needs are very specific and thus, for them shuffling between the operators fulfilling the need in the most economical way, is very easy. To illustrate, the generic class of migrant labourers tends to buy a connection for STD calling, and goes for recharging of the mobile every time he has to make call at his home town. For these set of subscribers, mobile connection doesn’t mean a mobile number, but a medium for making STD calls. For him, if there is a cheaper call rate available with some other operator, buying that connection becomes obvious. A similar example can be explained for the youth who carry a dedicated connection for SMS or GPRS, where the connection isn’t a mobile number but a medium for either sending SMS or accessing internet.

    So for the telecom operators, the better lot of consumers are not the second but the first set of subscribers, and the launch of Mobile Number Portability becomes obvious to woo the new operators in India.

    Thus, it is this gap in the demography that makes Indian Telecom Industry shuttling between both Matured and Immatured, and the launch of MNP a need of the hour. So for the future, telecom industry seems to reduce some brightness over the established players, while throwing light on the new entrants.

    The writer of this article, Atul Jagga, is a telecom revenue lead and can be reached at jagga.atul@gmail.com

  • ishan

    even pakistan is having MNP for more than two years……………………………..wakeup u irresponsible officials of india

  • Devendra kathuria

    Now even the telecom company have set up agencies to retain the customer who is willing to jump to other co. by having the same no. , heard that they are being paid Rs. 600 per customer who gets retained !!

  • Karthik

    When is it likely to come in Bangalore circle ??

  • Sushil

    make it fast and just help me to get read of Air-tel Maharashtra. its good in Mumbai but very very bad in other places in Maharashtra. i don't get coverage at neither in my Office nor at my Home. i have been using air-tel from last 8 yrs. i don't want to change that No. but now i m really helpless. even call rates are not flexible of it.

  • Ramjee

    With number portability will be very good. Now people can switch to a better service providers. In this the most and badly affected company will be Reliance Mobile who claim to be Number one in network without any coverage or very poor coverage.
    Sell your reliance communication share before you loose every thing

  • Kanika

    Number portability has no use for me. I’ve got Uninor, it's value for money and great service! Lots of people agree, look here http://bit.ly/i4nkuA http://bit.ly/eHQBo4