Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) to start in Haryana from Nov 25th, no info yet on other cities

MNP - Mobile number portability is going to be launched in Haryana first followed by other cities from 25th Nov onwards. Idea cellular has already launched ads related to porting to their network. This might be a game changer especially when we hear a lot of people unhappy with the service or the tariff with their current operators but dont wish to change their numbers. This will be a solution to all of those issues. Check out the Times of India article below.

Mobile number portability, the much talked and the much postponed service is finally seeing the light of the day. While the Department of Telecom has already announced November 25 as the launch date, just as it has done earlier, the announcements have started from cellular operators. Idea Cellular has taken the lead with its 'Switch to Idea' commercials debuting on TV channels.

MNP entitles a cellular subscribe to switch from his cellular operator to any other operator, and retain his mobile number. It is being rolled out on 25th November in Haryana circle where subscribers can switch in between any of the operators. Haryana has eight cellular operators Airtel, Idea, BSNL, Aircel, Loop, Vodafone, Etisalat DB, and Videocon . According to figures from Cellular Operators Association of India, the circle has 11.68 million subscribers as on October 31, 2010. India's total cellular subscriber base stands at around 700 million.

There is no clarity yet about what will be next after Haryana. In the discussion between DoT and operators, it is decided that all operators will do it at one go. Even if one operator is not ready with the systems, it will create a problem for other operators. Rajat Mukarji, chief corporate affairs officer at Idea Cellular confirmed that that the company will start MNP on November 25 from Haryana , but was waiting to hear from the DoT about the roll out in other circles.

Offlate, mobile phones or rather the SIM cards, have become an important tool in investigation of crimes, as it helps the police establish the presence of its owner (the criminals, in this case) in a particular area. However, barring Delhi Police, which is in constant touch with the operators, the police in other states does not seem to be clear about MNP.

Recently, Alok Kumar joint commissioner (crime) Bangalore said that MNP will create a headache for investigation agencies as offenders will misuse the '60-day' portability period as they can go 'off-network' and would be untraceable till they come 'on-network' .

Mr Mukarji clarified that the portability period was only seven days from the time a customer puts in a porting request . He also said that that the 'off-network' to 'on-network' time, which is the when the customer is switched off by one operator and switched on by the other operator, was only overnight.

An official with another operator said that the companies wanted to avoid any further MNP rollout till the end of January . "The entire system is very complicated at the backend, and dependent on all operators. If any system at any operator fails, the whole system will be jeopardised . MNP rollout needs a lot of work on the backend and in the switches. Every year between 15 December-16 January a large number of employees go on annual holidays. So operators want to avoid making any changes or upgrades to their systems during this time.'' Sources in the telecom industry said that there was a great probability of high-value subscribers from the newer operators shifting over to the established operators.

"In the ongoing furore over the 2G spectrum scam, there is an uncertainty over the new operators. Their network rollout is also not up to the mark. They might not be able to launch 3G services. So, their customers will switch over to the larger operators. Of course, MNP will significantly reduce the subscriber churn we see currently," an official said.

Any more updates regarding mobile number portability will be updated here. Stay tuned to this website.

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