Number portability - Retain your mobile number while switching provider

Now change your mobile service provider and Keep your mobile number

Number portability - Retain your mobile number while switching providerMobile users in India must be happy as Government of India is going to implement Mobile Number Portability (MNP) system soon, reported The Economic Times. MNP enables users to change the current mobile operator to the other without having any change in their mobile number.

Department of telecom (DoT) is all set to announce the timeline and the methodology that will be adopted for the implementation of MNP within the next few weeks. Sources said that DoT will issue a request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of centralized operators who will administer and implement MNP. Later, Centralized operators will be selected through a bidding process and the successful bidders will have to invest up to Rs.100 crore to set up clearing houses for MNP. Then they become Mobile Number Portability Clearing House Administrators (MCHAs) and there will be a Number Portability Database (NPDB) to store the mobile numbers of all cellular users.

Earlier, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had submitted its recommendation on implementing MNP and it stated that a neutral third party should own and operate MNP clearing house and the centralized data base. TRAI had also suggested that the company should not have substantial equity (over 10 percent stake) directly or indirectly in any of the service provider in India, similarly any telecom service provider should not have substantial equity directly or indirectly in the company. "The cost for the system can be recovered by charging a port transaction fee from service providers," added TRAI.

Number portability can be of different types.

Location-based: This enables a mobile subscriber to use the same number when shifting from one geographical area to another.

Operator-based: This makes it possible for a mobile subscriber (or a fixed telephony subscriber) to shift from one mobile (or a fixed) service provider to another in the same area and retain his original number too.

Service-based: Enables subscribers of a company to use the same numbers across different mobile technologies — Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) based Wireless in Local Loop (WLL).

Convergence-based: Allows usage of the same number while shifting from fixed to mobile telephony.

Total number portability: Enables usage of the same number across different technologies, geographical regions and national boundaries and is the ultimate aim of number portability. It will also be the most difficult to implement and would require a collaborated effort on the global scale among different service providers. It will be a combination of different types of portability options.

Number portability when used to transfer numbers from one service provider to another is called Mobile Number Portability. MNP is already being used in developed markets, which are mature and have a much higher teledensity. One example is Singapore where mobile teledensity itself is greater than 80 per cent. MNP has been implemented in Singapore since 1997 and the next consideration is Fixed Number Portability (FNP) and, ultimately, Fixed to Mobile Number Portability. In fact, in the US, November 24, 2003 has been set as the deadline by the regulatory authorities for a full implementation of MNP.

Sources here and here