Mobile Number Portability is here.But think before switching

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Old 20-Jan-2011
Thumbs up Mobile Number Portability is here.But think before switching

Mobile Number Portability is here. But think before you switch

NEW DELHI: With mobile number portability ( MNP )) becoming operational from Thursday, telecom consumers now have the choice of switching their operator without having to change their mobile number. This facility is available to both postpaid and prepaid customers and subscribers of GSM as well as CDMA service. The only restriction is that you can change your operator without changing your number only within your current service area. Which means subscribers cannot take their Delhi number to an operator in Mumbai . They can only change their operator within Delhi.

The cost of porting a number to a new operator is Rs 19, with the maximum porting time capped at 7 working days by telecom regulator Trai except in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North East service areas, where it will be 15 working days. However , consumers will have to remain with the new operator for three months before moving on.

Number portability has been delayed by three years, leaving many consumers anxious . Several subscribers, who feel disappointed with billing, customer care, and overall service delivery, have been waiting for this moment . But the real question is whether you should take the plunge and switch loyalties or not. Will the switch really be worth your trouble?

The real reason for change would be to access better quality of service or improved customer care and of course, the proposition of a better tariff package. This, however,will occur only if operators believe that the churn out of their subscriber base will be so high that they need to improve their service or customer care, etc. However , surveys have revealed that the net effect of number portability is practically negligible . This means most large operators gain and lose roughly the same number of subscribers, taking away any incentive to dramatically change quality of service or customer care or pricing owing to the threat of losing subscribers or the option of gaining subscribers.

For the consumer, this could mean you might switch your operator, but based more on a perception of improvement rather than a real difference. Trai’s September 2009 data suggests that at a pan-India level, the call set up success rate was upwards of 97.26%—the lowest being in UP (East) and the highest at 99.99% in Mumbai . Similarly the call drop rate according to Trai is less than 3% across the country with the highest at 1.9% in Rajasthan and the lowest at 0.42% in Orissa. In fact, the difference between GSM and CDMA operators is also negligible .

Further, all operators across the country score upwards of 90% with regards to the parameter called connection with good quality voice with the highest in UP West (CDMA) at 99.99% and the lowest in UP East (GSM) at 95.1%. It is also a well established fact that tariffs are extremely competitive and so moving to a dramatically lower bill is unlikely.

Some consumers who are frequent callers, an equivalent of closed user group—or family members who are currently on different networks could now move to single network to take advantage of attractive tariff packages, including free calls within the same network, etc.But before you make any switch check whether your operator is providing a similar option.

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