The official date for Mobile Number Portability (MNP) to be launched nationwide is January 20, 2011 (Haryana got it first on December 20, 2010). Let’s hope it is as great a success as it is planned and expected to be, and that it sincerely pushes mobile operators to improve their network infrastructure as well as quality of customer service, something which mobile users in India will greatly cherish!
The good news is that one can even migrate from CDMA to GSM and vice-versa, which increases the scope of the scheme and levels the field for all operators irrespective of technology. One can even migrate from prepaid to postpaid and vice versa when moving across operators.
The only restriction for now is that one can’t migrate across telecom circles using this scheme. You will still need to take a new mobile connection (with a fresh number) if you move to another circle.
The procedure to migrate your number from one operator to another is as explained below:
1. Send a SMS to 1900 in the following format: PORT <mobile number> (e.g. PORT 9876543210)
2. You will get a reply SMS from 1901 that contains a 8-digit Unique Porting Code (UPC) and the expiry date of that code
3. Next, you need to go to your desired mobile operator’s nearest outlet and submit an application for porting your number to their network. You need to mention your number, current operator and UPC code. You will be charged Rs. 19/- for porting your number to the new operator. The new operator will give you a new SIM card which will replace your old SIM once your number is ported to the new operator. Do not insert this SIM immediately. You need to keep your old SIM in your mobile until you receive further instructions.
4. Once the new operator verifies your documents and that there are no dues pending with the old operator, you will receive a SMS from the new operator on your number mentioning the date and time when your number will be ported to the new operator. This SMS should arrive within 4 days of applying to the new operator. At the stipulated time, you need to remove your old SIM card and insert your new SIM card into your phone.
5. There will be a service outage of around 2-3 hours (hopefully not more), following which your new SIM card will be activated and your number will be ported to the new operator. This will typically be done at night to minimise inconvenience. You will be informed by SMS on the new SIM card when the switch is complete.
The following diagram summarises the above procedure:
What about Landline/WLL Number Portability?
One hopes that this scheme will be extended in future to landlines as well, and that people will be able to migrate from one landline operator to another whilst retaining their number. This could be useful for a lot of businesses, public and private, that rely on landlines. Such a scheme could allow them to get the best possible deal for themselves.