Mobile number portability (MNP) becomes a non-starter

Amidst sluggish mobile number portability (MNP) requests, TRAI wants full MNP to go national.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) says full MNP can be implemented in the next 6 months.

Since November 2010, MNP requests were 93.56 million out of around 850 million mobile customers.

Since most of the telecom operators did not offer any specific package to attract mobile users through MNP initiative, MNP in India was a low key affair.

MNP, which can be used to shift from one telecoms to another without changing the cellular number, did not prompt telecom operators such as Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, etc. to improve quality of service to customers.

Earlier, the expectation was that MNP would force telecoms to invest in improving QoS.

Mobile Number Portability requests increased from 93.56 million subscribers in May 2013 to 95.59 million in June 2013. In June 2013 alone 2.03 million requests have been made for MNP.

“Full MNP is not expected to have a significant impact on operator churn. However, for people who migrate the additional choice will be a boon, and over the longer term it will lead to some decline in multiple SIM behaviour,” said Mohammad Chowdhury, leader – telecom, PwC India.

TRAI’s recommendations will now be taken up by DoT that will propose a final roadmap on the national MNP rollout. “The DoT may carry out the necessary changes in the existing MNP licence,” said TRAI in its recommendations.

LG G2 smartphone

The government kicked off MNP in Haryana state, India, in November 2010 on a pilot basis and was launched all across the country on January 20, 2011.

According to TRAI, the authority is of the opinion that six months will be sufficient for operators to carry out the required changes in their existing systems, complete inter-operator testing and implement the solution.

TRAI, in its recommendation, also said that once full MNP is in place, subscribers should be educated to dial numbers in the ‘+91’ format — which is the standard dialling format — so that the calls get connected across the country without any trouble.

On who will bear the STD charges while calling the number that has been ported to another service area, TRAI on Wednesday said most service providers are of the view that STD rates have plummeted to almost the same level as local call rates, hence, it is not a major issue. Therefore, the onus should lie on the calling party to bear the STD charges, if applicable, it said.

Pix source: LG G2 launch.

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