The mobile number portability (MNP) issue has been in the air for quite a while but it took about three years from the time the idea of implementing MNP arose to when it was finally done, leaving users worried whether it was ever going to happen. From January 20, 2011 onwards MNP is in operation across India, thus enabling mobile subscribers to change their mobile operator while retaining their number.
Users have to send an SMS to 1900, and the present company will provide a unique porting code. This code should be provided to the new company while filling a detailed form at its outlet, website or IVR service. The cost for this process will be a maximum of Rs 19, which is payable to the receiving operator who at any rate wants to attract new customers and will consequently reduce porting charges or some times exempt the user from having to pay them, such as BSNL does.
Major mobile operators have already geared themselves to provide MNP to customers and it could take seven days for a porting request to be processed. Users can shift from GSM to CDMA, but cannot change states for now. Mobile number portability is just like getting a new connection in all other aspects; it’s just that you get to retain the number you had with your previous mobile service provider. The facility is available to pre paid and post paid customers. Once the mobile service has been changed, consumers have to stay with the same mobile service provider for three months, after which they can make the switch again if they so wish.
It is expected that all mobile operators will improve their service due to the loyalty churn that MNP will create, but this will happen only if the churn creates an imbalance in subscriber numbers. If the number of users lost is about equal to the number gained in a short time, changes in service cannot be expected. According to a Times of India report, Vodafone customers were leaving the service provider at quite a substantial rate even before MNP. In fact the churn was said to be 41 per cent but the company always compensated for it by acquiring new customers.