Mobile Number Portability was officially launched in Haryana yesterday, the first of India’s regions to go live with the service. It’s a pilot launch, with the newly appointed Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal making a call from one ported number to another. We wonder which operator was dumped, and which chosen; most telecom operators, though are making the case to investors on their earnings calls, that MNP isn’t a big concern because many prepaid customers have multiple connections. Hold your horses, though – MNP will be launched across India on January 20th, 2011. The government had said a couple of days ago that a detailed plan would be announced, but there’s nothing yet on Department of Telecom’s website.

A few things to note:
– users can switch if and only if a minimum period of 90 days has elapsed after subscription to the mobile service of the current service provider.
– Users will have to send an SMS (PORTMobile Number) from the number he wishes to be ported, to number 1900 whereby a Unique Porting Code (UPC) will be received on SMS from his current service provider.
– The UPC will have ot be submitted in the prescribed application form to the chosen new service provider
– Porting has to be completed within 7 working days.
– MNP has a price ceiling of Rs. 19.

For more details: Rules & Criteria For Applying For Mobile Number Portability In India

What’s Missing

The one thing we don’t like about the way MNP has been implemented in India, is that porting numbers across states is not allowed. This doesn’t benefit the increasingly mobile population in the country, which moves across state boundaries for work. For example, if I wanted to shift to Mumbai from Delhi, and retain my number – I still can’t. I see little reason for why this type of switching hasn’t been allowed, except if it’s a techological issue. It’s not like ‘national security’ can be an issue – the government can still track your whereabouts and listen in on your calls if it wants.

Update: had the date wrong. thanks for pointing it out in the comments.