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Friday, February 18, 2011

Mobile Number Portability

After innumerable delays, a lot of finger pointing and teeth gnashing, the much awaited Mobile Number Portability service has been launched. MNP allows mobile users to switch cellular operators, without having to change their mobile number. Till now, if a user was not happy with the service provided by a cellular operator, the only option was to give up the existing mobile number and sign up for a new one, with another operator. This was proving to be a bit annoying for a lot of people, since changing mobile numbers literally amounted to losing one’s identity. The new number would have to be communicated to a lot of contacts, and inevitably, you would miss out on some! 

However, with the arrival of MNP, this is not the case. Users can change operators but retain the same mobile number. If you are unhappy with the service, or want to shift to a better tariff plan available with another operator, MNP allows you to do that. This service is available to prepaid and postpaid mobile users, on the GSM and CDMA platforms.

The impact of MNP will be immense. Not only will operators be forced to offer better services, but also keep tariffs very competitive in order to retain customers and try to gain new ones. The consumer will be the winner, because porting the number will also allow then to get the best deals, in case the current operator refuses to offer something similar.

What is MNP?
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) allows all mobile phone users to change between cellular operators, while retaining their existing mobile number. Until now, every time anyone wanted to shift to another operator, the mobile number would get changed. It was extremely time-consuming and annoying to inform all contacts about the new contact co-ordinates. However, now the user has to sign up for the MNP process, select which operator he wants to shift to, and retain the same number on the new network as well.

Is it available for all users?
Yes. MNP is available to all eligible postpaid and prepaid users. 

What is the porting process?
All users who wish to change operators need to follow the following steps: 

·         SMS “PORTmobilenumber” to 1900. This SMS needs to be sent from the same mobile phone which the user wants to port.
·         Once the SMS is sent, the user will receive an SMS with the Unique Porting Code (UPC) from the existing service provider.
·         Using this UPC, you will fill up the application form with the new service provider. Users will need to specify the tariff plan etc. which you have selected. This will be activated by the new operator, once the number is ported.
·         The porting process will be completed within 7-10 working days.
·         The process will cost a one-time fee of Rs 19.

What about the existing talktime balance on the prepaid? 
During the porting process, any existing balance or talktime will not be transferred to the new operator. It is better to utilize it fully before requesting for the change.

What about any unpaid bills/ unbilled amount for postpaid users?
Users will have to clear all outstanding bills and pay the unbilled amount before the porting process can begin. None of these charges will be forwarded to the new network.

Who do I follow up with during the porting process?
This is a two-step process. Once you put in the porting request, you need to follow up with the current service provider. Once you receive the SMS saying that the number has been ported to the new operator, you need to start following up with the new operator, to check about the activation status etc. 

There are some specific rules which define the porting process.
·         All bills/unpaid amount/unbilled balance will have to be paid in full before the porting process can begin. No amount- either unpaid or overpaid, will be carried forward to the new network.
·         Mobile users who have purchased a new connection can only port for the first time after 90 days from the date of activation of the connection.
·         Any user, who has ported the number once, can only do so again after a gap of 90 days from the date of activation of connection on new network.
·         Users can withdraw the porting request within 24 hours of submitting the application form. However, once the process has been completed by the existing operator, there is no way to stop the process.
·         Users can only port to service providers who offer services within their telecom circle. Tariff plans and schemes offered will be those currently being offered in the circle, currently.
·         No inter-circle porting is available at the moment. If someone is shifting between states, MNP will not be available to them.

 Here is the comparison chart of some of the options I was considering: (so basically this is just MY research, I suggest you do your own too).

Currently, I use:
1 postpaid VF number: purely private personal calls only : especially family & friends. Advantage: 1 number at 10 paise @ 25 rs a month, V2V @ 30p & rest @ 60p/min.
1 Reliance GSM prepaid number: my official number, my professional cellphone.
Advantage: Great roaming, 1p/sec to any1 in India even while roaming. Amazing internet @ 99 rs /month (seriously, I use a LOT), 500 sms / day free for 1 Rupee only ( & I sms a lot too)
Disadvantage: relatively poor network.
1Reliance CDMA prepaid number: my Clinic LANDLINE, a portable common landline number for any of my clinics, switched on @ 9 am, switched off @ 9pm everyday.
50p/min flat to any1 anywhere in India even while roaming & AMAZING rock solid network, the BEST.
Disadvantage: PATHETIC choice of handsets ! Often embarrassing to shell out such a stupid phone from your pocket (the reason why I got a R Gsm number too).

I plan to change R GSM to Tata DoCoMo soon.


Tata DoCoMo
Reliance GSM
Tata DoCoMo
(many other plans as well)
Initial Cost
49 Rs
506 /  507
49 / 50 /51
299 / month
99 or 99 / month
Lifetime *
1 year
458.75 / 459.66
75 Rs local Tata minutes free
99 min FREE per month
Call charges
(charges on roaming differ)
Local: 1p/Sec
STD: 2p/ Sec
All calls 1p/sec
All calls 50p/min
1p /sec
50p/ min
1 R / 3 min
1p /sec to ALL
V2V 1p/s
1.5p/s others
2.5p/sec STD
V2V 50p/min
1R/M to all others
Calling add on packs
49 Rs all calls 1p/2 sec for 30 days
79 Rs all calls 1p/2sec for 4 months
Keeps changing
Lots of “Toppings”
12000 Local + 9000 STD min free... etc..
15 Rs per month – 20 p /min to any 1 VF number
30 Rs p.m. – 30 p/m to all V2V only
SMS cost
60 paise local sms (but 1st 3 sms / day charged then 100 sms per day free)
1 Rs / SMS local
1.5 /sms National
1p /sms
50p /sms
1 R/ sms
60 paise local sms (but 1st 3 sms / day charged then 100 sms per day free)
1 Rs / SMS local
1.5 /sms National
SMS packs
(check for daily cap limit, holiday charges & roaming charges)
85 Rs – 15000 Local + National SMS per month (500 /day)
35 Rs – 350 local sms – 30 days
89 rs – 500/day local sms for 30 days (not valid for roaming or national)
19 Rs 1 time charge:
1 R / day auto-deduction.
500 sms /day (local + national)
Even on roaming
29 R – 600 L+N sms free / 30 d
49 R – 1500 L+N sms free / 30 d
89 R – 1500 L+N sms free / 30 d
149 rs – 500 sms /day for 30 days.

35 Rs – all sms 10 paise – for 30 days
(includes push email, browsing, chatting, tethering on most phones)
149  – 8Gb - 30d
95 – 6Gb – 30d
65 – 2.5Gb – 30d
48 – 1Gb – 30d
99 Rs – 1Gb for 30 days
99 Rs – 2.5 Gb – 30d
51 Rs – 1Gb – 15d
49 R – 500 Mb – 30 d

99 R – 2 Gb – 30 d

199 rs per month for VF Live –
5p /10kb
Other Features
FREE – Missed call alerts, Voicemail and Voice Chat
Also, many other packs as per requirement
Just great network
Good network on roaming, OK in Mumbai.
Call & sms all same & cheap on roaming as well.
SMS on holidays also free.
FREE – Missed call alerts, Voicemail and Voice Chat
Also, many other packs as per requirement
Good billing system, convenient payment kiosks, good service & network but EXPENSIVE
*Cumulative recharge of atleast 200 Rs over 6 months is compulsory.

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Original Work by Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani

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