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Mobile number portability service launched in India

Manoj Khar

New Delhi: In an important step towards empowering crores of mobile phone users in India, the much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service was formally launched.

Now subscribers would be able to change their mobile phone operator while still retaining the same phone number.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal introduced the new revolution in mobile telephony from Rohtak in Haryana. Countrywide rollout would be carried out in two phases.

After Haryana it would be introduced in Indian metros and Category A telecom zones, on December 31, 2009, and subsequently in the rest of the country, by March 20, 2010

Procedure of changing operator:
Three steps towards freedom of choice.
Step 1: Send a SMS to 1900 with the message (PORTMobile number) from the number you want to be ported.

Step 2: On sending the message you will receive a SMS from your current operator giving you the Unique Porting Code (UPC).

Step 3: The UPC acts a reference when you fill an application prescribed by your chosen new network provider.

The porting of number has to be completed in a span of seven working days, as per TRAI directives.

Charges for porting

The charge for porting your number to another operator is Rs 19, payable to the new service provider.
Post-paid subscribers need to ensure their billing dues are cleared before applying for number porting. Failing this, the request to the new porter will be rejected. For pre-paid users, the balance amount left does not get carried forward to the new operator after porting – both kinds of subscribers start from a clean slate with the new operator.

A point to note here is once you have switched your operators, you need to wait for a period of 90 days before you can change the operator again.

How the MNP works

When a subscriber makes a request to port his number to a new operator, the porting can be done in two ways. One is called the donor-led porting and the other is recipient-led porting. In India the latter method is in usage.

In the recipient-led porting, the new operator (recipient) takes the appropriate steps to register the user to its network. The process is completed once the mobile number of the user and the chosen operator’s network ID are paired and updated in the central database.

Under MPN services customers will have the option of changing their service provider without changing their mobile numbers.

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