Mobile Number Portability

The long-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) is finally here! The facility allows customers to change their cellphone operator without losing their phone numbers.

The MNP launch, which was deferred four times due to reasons ranging from operators not being ready with their networks to security concerns, promises to open a new chapter for India's burgeoning mobile population.

As the country’s mobile customers gear up to this new-found freedom, here's a ready reckoner on MNP that endeavours to answer all queries about MNP. Can a CDMA subscriber change to GSM network? What will be the cost of changing my service provider? How long will the transition take? This and many more such crucial queries on MNP are answered below.

So, here’s all that you wanted to know (and should know) about MNP.

Balance on prepaid cards will not be carried forward. Similarly, in case it is a platform shift you will have to change handsets. This means if you decide to move from CDMA-to-GSM or vice-versa, you will also have to change your handset.

A subscriber can stay within same technology, GSM/CDMA. Also, change to CDMA or vice versa. Both post-paid and prepaid subscribers can go for it.


How long will it take to port a number?

Seven working days. Fifteen working days in J&K, North-east.


How expensive?

Changing your mobile service provider will cost Rs 19. This will be collected by new service provider.


Can you retain your number in another city?

No. You can’t change circles. This means subscribers cannot take their Delhi number to an operator in Mumbai. They can only change their operator within Delhi.


How frequently can you switch service providers?

A subscriber must be with a provider for at least three months. Next number change not before 90 days.


Will MNP help improve quality of service?

Analysts believe that this is likely to happen only if operators believe that the churn out of their subscriber base is so high that they need to improve their service or customer care, etc.

However, surveys have revealed that the net effect of number portability is practically negligible. This means most large operators gain and lose roughly the same number of subscribers, taking away any incentive to dramatically change quality of service or customer care or pricing owing to the threat of losing subscribers or the option of gaining subscribers.


Will switching operator help me cut my mobile bill?

Mobile phone tariffs in India are already extremely competitive and so moving to a dramatically lower bill is unlikely. Some consumers who are frequent callers, an equivalent of closed user group-or family members who are currently on different networks could now move to single network to take advantage of attractive tariff packages, including free calls within the same network, etc.

However, before you make any switch check whether your operator is providing a similar option.

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