Mobile Number Portability (MNP) to kick in from 31st Dec in India

Mobile number portability (MNP) — a facility that allows customers to switch operators but retain their numbers — will kick in from December 31 across the metros and category A circles, such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, while the rest of the country will have access to the facility from March 31, 2010.

TRAI, the telecom regulator in India, also issued a slew of guidelines for MNP implementation. - As per the norms, once a user switches operator, he must stay for at least three months (90 days) with the new service provider before moving to another operator.
- Besides, a user holding a mobile connection is eligible to make a porting request only after three months of the date of activation of his number.
- The subscribers, who wish to port their numbers must submit their requests in writing to their service providers. The new operator must mandatorily carry out all checks, including identity verification, before completing the process, the regulator said, adding that the entire process must be completed within four days.
- Pre-paid users must give an undertaking of being aware that balances on both talktime and minutes will not be carried over to the new operator they are switching to. Post-paid customers must furnish proof that all outstanding dues to their current operator have been cleared, TRAI added.
- The operators must inform the customer about the exact date and time for the process. The regulator has also made it clear that while the operator is porting the number, the customer may have to face a ‘no service period’ that can be extended for up to a few hours during which they will not be able to receive and make calls. But in a bid to address these concerns, TRAI has said the new operator must provide the customer with a list of missed calls and messages sent during the ‘no service period’.

Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Teleco Solutions, the two companies chosen to implement it in India, had projected to regulator that less than 3% of the country’s expected 550 million-plus mobile users will go in for MNP by 2010. The regulator, when issuing MNP norms, however, did not specify the charges that customers will have to pay for switching their operator. Syniverse and MNP Interconnection had proposed to charge customers between Rs 75 and Rs 200 for porting an operator, but the regulator is yet to take a final call on the pricing issue.

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