Mobile subscribers across India will now be able to retain their number and switch telecom service provider, if they are planning to relocate.
At present, subscribers have restricted facility of changing their operators while retaining their number within the same service area using mobile number portability (MNP). The process cost Rs 19 per number and takes three-seven days.
The Telecom Commission on Wednesday approved the nationwide rollout of MNP, which will be effective from March 31, 2015.
Once effective, the change of operator in a new city is estimated to take two days. An official in the communications ministry, however, said that the target for operators is to do it in 12 hours at the end of first year and less than four hours at the end of second year.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had earlier suggested a six-month period from the date the proposal is cleared for operators to launch national MNP.
How will it be done?
The communications ministry will appoint a national mobile number portability service provider (MNSP) in every state.
For example, if a subscriber who uses Airtel network in New Delhi is moving to Mumbai and wishes to shift to Vodafone, she will have to submit a unique porting code (UPC) to Vodafone Mumbai.
The department of telecommunications will assign a number to generate UPC by sending an SMS. At present, the number is 1900, used for porting within a state.
Airtel will send the user’s details to national MNSP situated in Mumbai, which will process the application and forward it to Vodafone. Once done, it will take
about three days for Vodafone to activate the number in Mumbai.