Idea ready to launch mobile number portability

Monday, November 22, 2010, 19:24 by Tech Correspondent

You can soon change your telecom service provider without having to change your mobile number. That’s what mobile number portability does.

Close on the heels of 3G roll outs by telecom operators, service providers are now getting ready for increased competition with each other once full mobile number portability kicks in. As of now, only Idea seems ready to start the service.

To advertise the advantages of switching to Idea Cellular, the operator has released a marketing campaign of three television ads called “Switch to Idea”. The three ads are targeted at subscribers of other telecom operators’ services who get very high bills if they’re post-paid customers; cannot figure out where their pre paid balance was spent; or are tired of their operators’ inefficient customer care services. Read our earlier story on Mobile number portability (MNP) in India

In all three ads, someone who subscribes to another telecom operator’s services complains of unexpected charges or poor customer care, at which Abhishek Bachchan, Idea Cellular’s brand ambassador, encourages them to switch to Idea and solve their problems. The ads end by saying that with mobile number portability, it will be possible to switch to Idea without changing one’s mobile number. Also, the logo of Aditya Birla Group is briefly seen at the very end of each ad. Now that’s something to take notice of.

Idea Cellular is a subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group, and this logo being displayed is not common to all Idea Cellular ads. Often, when a parent company is advertised in this manner, it means that the firm intends to raise funds from the public through an IPO. However, there is no word as yet on whether this is Idea Cellular’s plan.

Mobile number portability services are to be available in Haryana starting Nov. 25. Related: MNP in Haryana There are eight cellular operators in Haryana – Airtel, Idea, BSNL, Aircel, Loop, Vodafone, Etisalat DB, and Videocon. The circle has nearly 12 million subscribers, according to data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India this October. The total subscriber base in India is about 700 million.

Idea Cellular says it is ready to launch mobile number portability in Haryana, but for this facility to be truly effective, every single operator must be ready.

Idea is also preparing to launch 3G services soon and has a 3G webpage that is meant to educate consumers about the company’s services. Idea has 3G spectrum rights for 11 of the 22 telecom circles in India, which include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (E), Uttar Pradesh (W), Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir.

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