November 15, 2010 is the day when mobile number portability (MNP) will be implemented in India, but there are several things about MNP that are not known to the public. Let us take a look at what it is all about.
What is MNP all about?
MNP is the facility that lets a mobile phone subscriber retain his/her original mobile number even after moving from one service provider to another. This is implemented in two different ways around the world. Some countries have the subscriber wanting to port his/her number to contact the new provider, also called the Recipient first. The Recipient then has to work with the old provider known as the Donor to arrange for the smooth transfer of the number. This method is known as Recipient-led porting.
Another, though a less popular way, is to have the subscriber to contact the Donor to obtain a Porting Authorization Code (PAC), which he/she has to provide to the Recipient. The Recipient then has to contact the Donor to complete the porting process. This is known as Donor-led method, but is not popular because there is a chance that the Donor may lure a subscriber to retain his subscription, leading to distortion of competition.
In India, MNP has been elusive so far. It has been implemented the world over and we are one of the last countries left to implement MNP - even our neighbor Pakistan implemented MNP way back in March 2007.
But the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has made clear that there won't be any further delays and it will surely be implemented on November 1, 2010. To use MNP facility, the subscriber will have to pay a non-refundable fixed charge of Rs.19, while the dipping charge is left to mutual negotiation between the telecom service providers and the MNP service providers. The porting charge shall not exceed the per port transaction charge of Rs.19, according to TRAI directive.
In India, the Recipient-led porting procedure will be used. The porting process would involve a break in service when a number is detached from the donor and added to the recipient, which should not take more than two hours during which no mobile service will be available. After this, the recipient operator has to carry out subscriber verification according to guidelines for acquiring a new user, within five days of receiving a written request. Once verified, the request is forwarded to the donor, seeking its clearance. The donor then has to verify and get back to the recipient with details within two days. MNP is then implemented.
To be able to cope up with the enormous logistics involved, mobile number portability will be carried out by dividing the country into two zones for the purpose of security and reliability.