The MNP services, via which the customer can retain the number even after changing its service provider, was expected to shake up the telephony market, but now industry leaders are recognising that this may not happen, says a study.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched the nation-wide mobile number portability (MNP) services on January 20.
The service was first launched in Haryana in November last year.
"With 0.75 per cent of mobile subscribers in Haryana having made use of the porting service in the three months since its introduction, it is still unclear how "well" the service will do across India following its pan-India launch," the Sri-Lanka based research firm LIRNEasia said in a study.
Idea Cellular launched a major advertising campaign for the "impending" service, has indicated lower expectations on the impact of MNP.
These statements may be a consequence of the reported porting rate from Haryana, the first state in the country where MNP was launched.
In fact, nothing can be concluded from the first few days of the launch, considering the trajectory of porting rates over time in other countries that have introduced the service.
As speculation rises on how the Indian marketplace will receive the service, it will be interesting to note the post paid and prepaid porting rates, says study.
All that a customer needs to do for changing his/her telecom operator is pay a maximum of Rs 19.
He/she will get a new service provider within seven working days as per the guidelines of regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
However, a consumer will have to remain with one operator for a minimum period of three months in order to avail the MNP service.
Earlier, in another study on the MNP LIRNasia had said that MNP will have limited value to the vast numbers of those on prepaid plans and who have little number loyalty.
Given the phenomenon of multiple SIM ownership that prevails in the country and rock-bottom call rates, there is likely to be little incentive or motivation for a majority of mobile subscribers to consider using MNP.
However, the service will benefit over 700 million subscribers, both in GSM and CDMA categories in the country.
The new policy would force the operators to shift focus from acquiring new subscribers to retaining the existing ones.
With monthly addition of 15 million subscribers, India has achieved a teledensity of 65 per cent.
The Indian telecom sector, which is the fastest growing in the world with the lowest tariffs, has grown from 33 million in March 2004 to about 750 million now.
Both pre-paid and post-paid consumers can use MNP.