MNP in India: Over 17.11 lakh requests submitted

Thursday, February 10, 2011, 10:14 by Tech Correspondent

Over 17.11 lakh Mobile Number Portability(MNP) requests have been made since Jan. 20, 2011, when the MNP service was launched in India, according to TRAI data.

The North and North Western zones have witnessed the maximum MNP requests. About 1.67 lakh requests were submitted in Gujarat by Feb. 5, 1.44 lakh in Rajasthan, 1.16 lakh requests in Karnataka, and 1.14 lakh in Tamil Nadu.

The total number of MNP requests so far for a subscriber base that is 7,300 lakh connections strong, is small. More than 167 lakh requests were submitted last year, urging telecom authorities to deploy MNP services. When MNP was tried out in Haryana in November 2010, about 1.25 lakh porting requests were received in the state. Yet, only a little over 17 lakh MNP requests have been made across India so far.

Analysts are blaming this on the uncertainty in the market caused by the 2G spectrum scam. Further, a year ago when dual SIM phones were only catching up and had not become as popular as they are today, MNP seemed essential. But, now, one can be disloyal to one operator without having to switch to another just by getting a dual SIM phone.

In fact, multi SIM phones allow people to use the best services of multiple operators, and so it will be largely people who are dissatisfied with their mobile operator who will switch to another. Meanwhile, operators are proposing attractive schemes to keep existing subscribers and lure potential switchers.

Gartner analysts expect MNP to lead to a subscriber churn among only 3 percent to 5 percent of mobile users. They believe the others don’t have a compelling reason to switch operators because most operators offer more or less similar services. Related: BSNL offers free MNP

Besides, about 96 percent of the Indian subscriber base uses prepaid services and many of these people don’t think twice about changing their number anyway. Learn how to change your operator under MNP

TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) also mentions that some port-in requests were rejected by service providers. This could be because of a rule that says one must stay with an operator for 90 days before being able to port one’s number. Other rejection include bad requests, such as, from people who owe their previous operator some money or who didn’t fill up their forms completely, etc.

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