You will now be able to retain your mobile number even if you move “permanently” to another state.
You will just have to port the number, from your service provider to a new operator or the existing one in the state you are moving in.
If you do not port your number and use the network of another operator or even the existing one, you will end up paying roaming charges. At present, each operator charges 10-30 paise as roaming fees. Some telcos do not charge for roaming if you continue to be on their network in another state.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said National Mobile Number Portability (NMNP) will be available from May 3, 2015. It will be offered by all operators across the country.
Current MNP rules allow you to retain your mobile number if you change your service provider within the state you live in. It costs Rs 19 per number and takes three to seven days.
To begin with, the process of shifting operators will take two days. The government plans to ask operators to complete porting within 12 hours by the end of the first year and less than four hours by the end of the second year.
Besides, to make it easier for customers, Trai has asked telcos to recover any outstanding bill within 30 days from the due date of payment from a subscriber who has shifted operators. After a lapse of 60 days, no claim or disconnection request from the other operator can be made, according to Trai’s regulations.
“It could lead to higher customer churn rate for smaller players,” said Hemant Joshi, partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells. “Pan-India players would benefit as customers are likely to retain operator when they move from one circle to another. The other big issue would be to address challenges while implementing it on the ground.”
Since January 20, 2011, when MNP was introduced, only 139.49 million users out of India’s total subscriber base of more than 900 million have opted to port their numbers.