Friday, 29 August, 2008

Tired of your Network?


The other day, I saw a huge ad in front of a Mobile office (Lets call it Aircel)
STD at 75 paisa for first 400 minutes... National SMS free!

I hold a Vodafone connection.
STD and SMS at 1 rupee.
I read. I sigh. And I walk on.


My friend tells me about this new offer which he can get me through his company connection... It will give me a 40% reduction in the bill. And free SMS!
I turn down the offer, again.


Why wouldn’t I grab these offers and change my connection to the best one, at once?

Because of the simple reason that I hate to go through that torment of changing my number, Informing my friends, relatives, colleagues, et al.. Wait a minute..! How will I inform my bank n other official services…??
Oh! Forget it!

Well… this will change. Soon.

Mobile number portability(MNP) will soon enter our circles. And the countdown has already started.

What is MNP?

Mobile Number Portability(MNP), simply put, means that even if you change your mobile service provider (Say from Airtel to IDEA or vice versa) your number would remain the same.

It is the newest in the tidal wave of mobile technology. There are other variants for changes like Mobile to Landline. But what we can expect soon, and obviously the most looked forward to, is the MNP.


There are myriad reasons why MNP should be here.

As I said before, you won't ever have to bother about changing your number. You see a new offer; this one better than your current one; buy it; plan changed. Simple. No hassles.

But behind this huge relief there are other significant repercussions which will affect our lives, or rather our Mobile lives. The simple possibility of losing the customers at once will push our Service providers to come up with new ideas, technologies and above all, lower rates.

And then, the mobile penetration rate in India would climb up rapidly. (If rates can go faster than it is now! :-)) Even though we feel every other guy, be it the street urchin or the local fruit vendor, owns a mob, mobiles in India seems to have reached only about a quarter of the population.


MNP is already an old story in countries like Singapore, US, UK, Australia, Pakistan etc. The best part of MNP is that you don't have to wait for days to get your plan changed. The waiting period varies from 5 hours in the US to an awesome 3 minutes in Australia!


MNP needs an intermediate governing body to monitor the porting of service.
There can be two types of Porting. Donor led porting and Recipient led porting.

Suppose you want to change your connection from X to Y. In donor led porting, it is your current provider X, who will initiate the porting and complete the formalities.
This method of porting is used only in UK. But the disadvantage here is that provider X would definitely be vexed at losing their customers. So the process of porting may take a loooooooooong time.

Recipient led porting thus seems to be the better one. Recipient network Y initiates and completes the process.

After porting, the routing of calls can take place based on a number of implementations. But as of now, the most popular and efficient routing is via a Central Data Base(CDB) of ported numbers. Local copies of this CDB will be available to every service provider and they will consult this database to decide which network a number currently uses.


"When shall MNP come to India?" has been a popular question since this technology came into being. The answer came very recently. Precisely, on the
2nd of August 2008. Our Telecom Minister A. Raja has declared that MNP will be rolled out in all the metros within 2 months and then to the whole of India in 6- 12 months.

A decade back, we wouldn't have even imagined "A phone for everyone".
Now we are not satisfied with the present goodies. As a popular mail says ' you have 15 numbers to reach your family of 3.' :-)

Technology simply gets better each day.

So, my dear mobile friends, its time to rejoice! :-)

*****12 May 2009*****


A good news in fact... Hope it does not get delayed further than this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

True it is a great thing, but will it really be implemented properly is to be seen. This was supposed to happen in India years ago, but got delayed and delayed.. The reason? Nothing to do with technology. Same reason as you mentioned, the mobile companies do not want to loose their customers. The easier (and off course more profitable) way is to lobby the government and defer the implementation rather than give more incentive to the users to remain loyal... Hope this time it does go through though...

And yeah call rates are already the cheapest in India when you compare the rest of the world, how much further it can reduce is to be seen!