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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finally Mobile number portability a reality

Jan 20, 2011

After years of delays, mobile number portability (MNP) will finally be available all over India from January 20. Telecom Minister said, "We're very happy that we are going to launch it nationally. It's a great step forward for the consumer. It enhances his choice."

Dump your phone company. Move to a better one. But keep your present number. 700 million Indians use cell phones. With mobile number portability finally kicking, many customers, especially pre-paid ones, might abandon ship and firms might offer better service.

To shift, send an SMS from your phone to 1900. Your present company will reply with a unique porting code. Use that code while filling out a detailed form for the company you want to shift to. Within 48 hours, that company will take over all your cell services. The fees, about Rs 19.

Your cell number will be switched off for only one hour. All bills after that, are paid to your new company. You'll be stuck with them for at least 50 days before you can shift again, so choose with care.

While you can shift from a GSM service to CDMA or vice versa, you cannot shift from one state to another. If you do, roaming kicks in, just like it does right now.

Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India, COAI: You can use number portability for any post-paid as well as prepaid number. In case of a post-paid number, there shouldn't be any dues. For a prepaid number, carry forward of any balance to the new service provider is not permitted.

When you port your number, you also need to change your SIM. Apart from retaining the same number, the process is same as acquiring a new connection. MNP might be kicking off all over India now, but in Haryana it was launched on November 25 and 80000 people have already opted for it.

So will MNP be a game changer? Not that much, since lots of people now also have an option of buying a dual sim phone. But, if Haryana is any indication MNP seems to have a bright future.

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