While Airtel was busy in revealing a new brand identity by spending some obscene amount of money in introducing a new logo, the same time IDEA was busy capitalizing on the hottest talk of the telecom industry – MNP (Mobile Number Portability). In fact if I’m not wrong IDEA is the first one to start talking about it and must say that the communication hits the nail just at the right place. Have watched three commercials till now, one speaks of customer service accessibility, the other for network connectivity and third on vague billing system. Liked the communication as well as the execution; all three ads highlight the most commonly faced issues with telecom service providers in India and ends with call for action “get idea” in a very smart way. Messaging is so simple that it is clear to even people who are not aware of basic things like different component of their bills but can gather from this ad that there is some new feature where one can switch operators without changing the number. Most of IDEA ads used to focus around social messaging, this is the first time I’m observing them encashing on a new service offering. Or maybe if I look at it from a different POV, I will say that even this one has social awareness aspect as it’s the first messaging in India which informs & confirms the advent of MNP in India.
Finally MNP has arrived after some zillions of roadblocks and millions of postponement. Even though it has been launched only in few circles as of now but the nationwide launch of it by 20th Jan 2011 is surely going to further intensify the competition amongst different telecom service providers in India. More than the price, I think it’s going to be the service differentiation which will be deciding the track of churn vs. gain between different operators. To add to that, the process of switching does not seem to be too expensive or troublesome as of now. Here are some general FAQs related to MNP in India published by different authorities (via):
1. How can I proceed with MNP i.e., change my service provider without changing the number?
Send an SMS: PORT<space>Mobile Number (that is to be ported) to 1900. For ex. PORT 9812345678. Your existing operator will immediately provide you with a 8 digit alpha-numeric porting code that you need to submit to the operator you wish to opt to along with relevant documents. (The unique porting code will be valid only for 24 hours). After consulting with your existing operator, new operator will move your number in a maximum of 4 days.
2. What are the minimum and maximum time specified for porting number from one operator to another?
Porting time could be anything between 24 hours to 4 days.
3. What are the charges for Porting to another operator?
Service providers can charge a maximum of Rs. 19 for porting a number.
4. Who is eligible for availing mobile number portability?
Any customer having a mobile number older than 90 days can migrate to another operator with the same number. He / She will have to wait for another 90 days before being able to port their number again.
5. Will my number be dead during the porting process?
As per the details available, a number will remain dead for 2 hours approximately during the porting process. Fortunately, the 2 hours downtime will be between 10 PM and 5 AM IST.
6. Can I migrate my post-paid number to another operator with prepaid services or vice-versa?
Yes, that can be done once you clear off all pending dues with the current operator.
7. Will my prepaid balance carry-forward to new operator?
Unfortunately not. All remaining balance on your mobile will get lapsed and will not be carried-forward to the new operator. Thus, it’s advisable to completely use the available talk-time before moving to another operator.
8. Can I port my number from one circle (state) to another?
Retaining same number while moving from one state to another is not possible unless MNP services are launched pan-India.
9. Can I port my CDMA number to GSM operator or vice versa?
Yes, with the introduction of MNP, moving from CDMA to GSM or vice-versa is possible too, but your existing mobile will be rendered useless if you opt to move from CDMA to GSM technology.
10. Can I port my landline number to a mobile service provider?
Porting a landline number to a mobile operator is possible in countries like US, though, for now Indian govt. has planned to launch MNP only for mobile phone users. India might witness landline number portability in the future.
From the face of it, MNP seems to be easy-to-switch process but the actual impact or hidden (if any) truths will only be known once it’s launched all across. But if it’s really what it communicates to be, then this will be like a super boon for consumers in India. What do you think about MNP, promise vs., reality & the impact of it on consumers & the industry?
BTW, in case you’ve not seen the IDEA MNP ads till now, do check it out: