Nationwide mobile number portability comes into effect

RSTV Bureau

mobile_phoneMobile users will now be able to retain their phone numbers across the country, even while changing cities. Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has become a reality from Friday.

All operators, including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Communications, and state-run MTNL and BSNL, decided to stick to the new deadline and roll out this service starting Friday.

Not only does this service allow customers to retain their mobile numbers after shifting base to a new place, it also facilitates users to choose an operator of their choice without changing their numbers.

Currently, users pay roaming charges if they use their number outside their home city, except for BSNL. Also, they are billed on STD rates for the calls. A full MNP will help them do away with these charges as their new city becomes their home base without any change in the phone number.

The initial deadline for this service was May 3 but it was extended by two months as the operators were not ready in May.

Other private players like Uninor, Sistema Shyam Teleservices and Videocon also stuck to the July 3 deadline fixed by the government.

In a statement, Airtel said its customers can also enjoy special offers like processing requests to port within Airtel’s network within 24 hours and free incoming on roaming until the portability request is processed.

Vodafone said, “Customers looking for the convenience of retaining their existing number at the new location can avail the benefits of national MNP service.”

“Vodafone has benefited from the intra-circle MNP that was rolled out in 2011 and we look forward to a similar response this time,” said Vodafone India Chief Commercial Officer, Vivek Mathur.

“Idea has been the MNP leader with over 14 million net gain of customers so far, through intra circle MNP services. The company is now ready to enable national MNP by allowing its own users to retain their numbers even if they move out of a circle and also take on new customers who wish to switch to Idea network from their current service provider,” said Idea in an official statement.

Reliance Communications said they have “attractive and aggressive plans” to retain customers.

India, which currently has 22 circles or telecom zones, had allowed intra-circle number portability till now which meant that users could retain their numbers even if they shifted their mobile operator within the same city. Now this is allowed on a pan-India basis.

The estimated number of mobile users in India was close to 97.33 crore in April 2015.