Yeah ..If recommendations put by TRAI are accepted, this can become a reality .. . In a recent consultation paper, TRAI has recommended introduction of Mobile Number Portability in India ..
What is MNP ..?
It is simply a service which allows you to retain your number even when you change your service providers .. Currently when we change our service provider ..say from Idea to Hutch, the number gets changed .. Then comes the hassle of telling everyone that you now have a new number .. reprinting visiting cards .. and so on … With Mobile Number portability, you can keep your existing phone number even when you move to Idea from Hutch .. Convenient .. isn’t it ..?
Who will benefit ..?
Pointless to argue, the subscribers will ..!! The main reason for most of the customer from switching service providers is the change of number .. and when he is free to interpolate, he can do so anytime he wants .. So the operators will have to bring quality service in their package if they want to retain the customer base … Ultimate beneficiary ..? the customer ..! ..
What can be the hurdles ..?
Hmm… First is the cost involved .. The Service providers aren’t too optimistic about it cauz they will have to put infrastructure to manage all this .. and the increased competition too … If the user isn’t satisfied he will move on .. And then there are issues of who will manage the ported number’s registry ….
Some other issues are that the callers wont be able to distinguished where they are calling ..? Like say a network X charges 1 Re per minute if the calls are made intra circle ..that is on X’s network .. but if the calls are made outside the circle, the charges are double .. So if the number is ported, the caller wont be able to distinguish whether he is calling intra circle or out of it .. This can create problems for the caller …
Another is when the companies are putting trust on customers, they will put phone lock in periods before the user moves on to other service .. If the user changes the service before the lock in period is over, he will have to pay some penalty .. This will create some confusions among the customers as to whether they can “unlock” their phone or not as they have paid for the handset and its their property ..These “locked phones” are pretty common in US where Cingular’s phone are incompatible with other phone services unless they are unlocked ..
And then … how will be the cost managed ..? Will the operators pass this cost to end users ..? It would be better to pass to the ported users and not on everyone …
Anyways .. Even with so many difficulties, I think MNP will be a good idea .. Those who want interpolability will be willing to pay for it too .. So the costs can be managed … It will also take care of interoperability issues .. The main reason for my leaving Indicom was that not many networks supported it .. so if the numbers are ported, these issues will be solved tooo .. The TRAI paper unlike other government papers is a good read …So have a look at it and give your comments …