India to Have Mobile Number Portability

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Mobile Number Portability, which entitles subscribers to retain their existing mobile number while changing the service provider, is in line in India. Though initially thought to be implemented in September 2009, it has been rescheduled to December 31, 2009 in some cities. It's expected to be implemented in the other parts of the country by March 2010.

In a recent announcement, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) declared that Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will be implemented for the metros and category A circles by December 31 this year. For the other circles, it is scheduled to be completed by March 20, 2010. TRAI also announced a price cap of ` 19 that an operator can charge from the subscribers.

If it gets implemented successfully, MNP would provide unique opportunities to the Indian mobile subscribers to retain their existing number while changing their service provider irrespective of mobile technology. It means, a CDMA mobile user can retain his/her existing number while switching over to GSM service. As of August 2009, India had 456.74 million mobile connections. The number is increasing by 12 to 15 million every month. This move will open up new avenues for the mobile subscribers in India. It will also provide them more flexibility to choose their plans and service providers.

Transferring a mobile number to another operator will require three transactions. Two of those – the dipping charge and the per port transaction, are between participating operators and MNP service providers (Telcordia and Syniverse). The subscribers are required to pay the porting charge only.