Mobile Number Portability is finally operational in India

Mobile Number Portability is finally operational in India

Summary: After delays Mobile Number Portability service has been finally started in India, piloting in Haryana. Some numbers about the market, terms and conditions of the service are detailed.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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After several delays, November 25th was decided on as the date when Mobile Number Portability would roll out in India. Starting in Haryana, a state in the Northern circle users can now opt to change their mobile carriers while keeping their numbers. The terms of switching operators as defined for Haryana and in all likelihood for other cities, are:

  • User will have to obtain a unique porting number by sending a SMS.
  • The code along with filled forms and valid identity proof documents need to be submitted to the new operator.
  • Rs 19 is the switching fee.
  • A user can switch after 90 days of a new connection being activated.
  • Postpaid users need to clear all dues before applying to switch.
  • Prepaid users lose any remaining talk time after switching.
  • MNP request can be cancelled within 24 hours and a new request should be processed within 7 days.

With 3G services starting to roll out, the mobile space should get competitive with operators having some time to announce lucrative deals to attract and retain consumers in the metropolitans. According to the latest statistics about the  mobile market size in India, Airtel leads by quite a margin. There are about 509 million users according to the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) report for October 2010. The breakup for some operators is:

  • Vodafone – 118 million subscribers
  • Uninor – 13.7 million subscribers
  • Idea Cellular – 76 million subscribers
  • BSNL – 75 million subscribers
  • Airtel (market leader) – 146 million subscribers

The number of users will only increase and there will not be a lot of loss for one carrier since everyone is frustrated with their respective carriers. I see two outcomes:

  • We will no more be able to determine what operator is the incoming call from. (Each operator had their own set of first 3 digits that made easy to identify the operator.)
  • The market will see a consumer round robin with users moving to alternatives.

India has been divided into two zones with Syniverse Technologies managing Zone 1 comprising of North and West while an Indo-US joint venture called MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions India Pvt Ltd handling Zone 2 comprising of South and East.

Update: Operators have started wooing customers with IDEA cellular starting an advertisement campaign called "No Idea, Get Idea" featuring their brand ambassador Abhishek Bachchan:

TATA Docomo has updated their website to help users to migrate to their service.

Topic: Mobility

Manan Kakkar

About Manan Kakkar

Telecommunication engineer with a keen interest in end-user technology and a News junkie, I share my thoughts while preparing for my Master's in Information Management.

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8 comments
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  • RE: Mobile Number Portability is finally operational in India

    This is good. If Indian ministers like Raja doesn't make $22,000 million (USD) LOSS to Indian Government, not 3G, india might've got 4G already.
    jinishans
  • stats counting mistake?

    Uninor is an operator who entered the Indian MSP arena in early to mid 2010. cant have 13.7 million subscribers, especially with so many incumbents already there. Vodafone and Airtel rule the roost.
    anay3000
    • RE: Mobile Number Portability is finally operational in India

      @anay3000 surprised me too but Deccan Herald says so too.
      Manan Kakkar
  • Reliance and TATA dont have Customer ?

    Second Largest Operator is Reliance not vodafone
    HetalDP@...
    • RE: Mobile Number Portability is finally operational in India

      @HetalDP@... well I never said that Vodafone was the second largest operator. Only said who's the first. The COIA report is quite confusing to total.
      Manan Kakkar
  • Nationwide?

    Kapil Sibal says MNP will be available nationwide by Jan 20, 2011. Meh! Who wants to bet it takes another year minimum to get the service out the door all over?
    s1m55r
  • RE: Mobile Number Portability is finally operational in India

    The UK has had MNP for ages now, however I have stuck with the same provider due to retention offers. These have decreased in the recession but to be honest all the operators here are equally uncompetitive how. It probably happens with a saturated market.

    When I go to India I always buy a prepaid SIM and have found them to be very reasonably priced, especially for calling the UK. If this new ruling makes the prices even lower then bring it on!
    meister2681
  • MNP outcomes....

    The primary and most important outcome that can happen out of MNP would be the King Size treatment that customers can get from their service providers.

    Airtel used to charge for talking to their customer service representative when you call the Airtel Customer Care number. They have decided to roll that back ! Thanks to MNP !!
    pramodoux