MNP ready to take off: Will it benefit telecoms or mobile users?

All India Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will be available from 3 July.

Who will benefit: telecoms or mobile subscribers?

All telecoms are pitching for new subscribers. Besides getting the ability to switch over to a new telecom by retaining the existing mobile number, does MNP offer any benefit to Indian mobile users? Are the Indian telecoms ready to enhance network quality to attract new users from rival camps.

Telecom service providers were on Thursday all set to roll out pan-India mobile number portability (MNP) from July 3 in line with the government mandate, thus enabling customers across the country to retain their mobile phone numbers while relocating between states, IANS reported.

Prominent telecom service providers — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular and MTS India — confirmed they would implement full MNP from July 3 — the deadline laid down by the Department of Telecom (DoT).

“Today, not only has mobile phone become an essential part of our lives, but also the mobile number has equally become an indispensable identification for each one of us. With our complete readiness to launch MNP, we aim to empower customers to retain this identity as they move anywhere in the country,” said Ajai Puri, director, market operations, Bharti Airtel.
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“To facilitate a seamless transition, we will also allow our customers to enjoy free incoming on roaming while their number portability request is being processed,” he added.

“MNP service allows the customers to carry their existing numbers across India and also choose the operators of their choice. Vodafone has benefited from the intra-circle MNP rolled out in 2011. We look forward to a similar response this time,” said Vivek Mathur, chief commercial officer, Vodafone India.

Vodafone India has a pan-India base of over 184 million customers serviced through a network of more than 130,000 sites, of which over 35,000 are 3G sites.

“RCOM (Reliance Communications) is ready to roll out mobile number portability nationally from July 3, 2015 onwards, and this will allow our customers to retain their mobile numbers in any part of the country and continue to enjoy our best-in-class network and services,” said a Reliance Communications spokesperson.

“Reliance Communications will also be offering attractive and aggressive plans for both its pre-paid and post-paid customers, as well as customers porting in from other networks, to ensure that this is a seamless and easy transition,” the spokesperson added.

Similarly, MTS India said the company was fully geared up to comply with the deadline.

“The move will enable MTS India to quickly and efficiently process all number portability requests. The implementation of MNP is bound to set new benchmarks in customer service standards within the Indian telecom sector,” an MTS India spokesperson said.

Idea Cellular claimed it was the MNP leader with over 14 million net gain of customers so far, through intra-circle MNP services.

“As a result of Idea’s growing network presence, focus on customer-centricity, and a strong brand-connect with the audience, our MNP leadership has grown consistently ever since our services were launched in 2011,” said Sashi Shankar, chief marketing officer, Idea Cellular.

“We are confident that the strong brand stickiness and growing preference will continue to benefit us as we now extend this service on a pan-India basis, enabling users switching cities to retain their numbers,” he added.

MNP is an important tool to attract new users and avoid churns. But telecoms are not talking about network quality and price cuts to attract mobile subscribers.

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