Mobile Number Portability


I wrote this post long ago on VoiCE blog. Re-posting here with some changes

India has been buzzing with the talks of mobile number portability. After much deliberation and a delay of almost a year, which is not unnatural here, the service has finally gone live. The new Telecom minister launched it as a pilot in Haryana in December before the pan India launch on January 20 2011. So what does it hold for us? Let us try and find out.

Mobile number portability (MNP) is termed as the process in which a user transfers (process is known as porting) his mobile phone number from one operator (network provider) to another. Why will some one want to do that? Simple! One is not happy with the current provider and wants to switch to a new one for better quality or service. You might also want to do that to take advantage of better discounts or value added services from a new provider. And the biggest benefit for you or any one opting for porting is that one is saved from the headache of updating ‘n’ contacts about the new number. You don’t have to change your number at all. 🙂
Mobile number porting is becoming increasingly popular worldwide due to the savings that can be made by switching mobile phone providers in order to get a better mobile phone services and save cost. It will be particularly useful in India where people shifting cities or states is very common. So you will be spared from the trouble arising due to existing multiple telecom players that charge you heavy. Your number in Nagpur can now be retained even when you shift base to Mumbai, Chennai or Bangalore. (Although shifting of circles is yet to be launched, it will be a feature soon)
How does it work? Simple! When you make an outgoing call to any number, mobile or landline, the call gets routed to the destination number through the terminal. Generally the destination number is identified by the code (country code and/or STD code) and then connected. When dialling a mobile phone, we prefix it with a 0 when in the same country or just dial the number when in the same circle, say Mumbai to Mumbai. Now in case of mobile number portability, a central database (CDB) of numbers who have been ported is created. Every network operator who offers portability keeps a copy of the CDB who has the information of the destination network. So when you dial a Vodafone number which has been ported to Airtel, this database will tell your operator, say Idea that the call has to be routed through a Vodafone gateway now. This is known as All call Query (ACQ)
Most countries offer MNP for free while some charge as high as 25 Euros, like in Germany. They also have different time to respond & port. Some countries take 5 working days to port a number, say Finland while some do it in matter of minutes, say New Zealand or Ireland. In India, it is believed that it will take almost 7 days to port the number and will be priced at Rs. 19, less than half a dollar!

I’m all excited to know who all have already used this service. Though I’m not looking forward to try and port my number. But I hope this is properly implemented in India without any glitch and corruption.

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One thought on “Mobile Number Portability

  1. Hmmm looking forward to it. Wondering how will it affect the already competitive telecom sector in India. Though Idea advertising abt MNP is a little too optimistic 😉 it is not very easy to predict which way things will go .

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