The mobile number portability (MNP) service, which will allow subscribers to retain their numbers while switching operators, will roll out from November 25 instead of November 1 in a phased manner from Haryana, the department of telecommunications (DoT) said on Sunday.
"The countrywide launch of MNP services will start from Haryana Licensed Service Area on November 25, 2010. From this date customers in Haryana will have the option of changing their service provider without changing their mobile numbers," said a DoT statement.
The scheme will be then extended to other circles gradually, it added.
Telecom minister A Raja had earlier said the MNP rollout would start in Haryana from November 1.
The DoT said the mobile network is growing rapidly and currently there are over 650 million customers. This customer base is supported by a large and complex network carrying billions of minutes of traffic per day.
"Hence, it is necessary to carefully test the capability of the networks of all operators and extend the facility in a suitably phased manner to all service areas."
Customers, who wish to change their service provider without changing their number, will have to send an SMS from their phone to 1900. Based on this they will get a unique porting code as SMS from the existing service provider.
The customer then has to fill in an application in the prescribed form mentioning the code to the selected new service provider for transferring the number.
"A period of four days has been prescribed for completion of porting (transfer) of the mobile number to the network of the new service provider," said the statement.
The implementation of MNP has been delayed many times. Initially, it was to be implemented by December 31, 2009 in all the metros along with the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The deadline was changed to March 31, 2010 and then to June 30. The June 30 deadline was again deferred as operators were not ready with the infrastructure to provide the service.