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Number portability not mobile

To start with, transferring one’s mobile number from one operator to another will be possible only within a city, reports Archana Khatri.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2007 21:10 IST
Archana Khatri

Hold on to your excitement if you thought that mobile number portability will allow you to retain your mobile number even when you shift cities.

“To start with, transferring one’s mobile number from one operator to another will be possible only within a city. Portability of mobile numbers across circles will happen later,” said sources in the department of telecommunications.

The department on Monday had announced that initially number portability would be introduced in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. That means a mobile user in Delhi will able to shift to another operator only within the city. If he happens to move to Mumbai or Chennai, he will have to give up the number and use another.

“In India, where customers and operators both look for cost-effective solutions, it could take at least four days to switch from one operator to another,” an industry analyst said. In some countries the switch takes just about two hours.

Usha Rajeev, telecom consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, says for routing calls in a portable number scenario, all the jigsaw pieces will have to fit in. And all telecom service providers will have to simultaneously upgrade their networks.

Typically, four to six operators provide mobile services in most Indian cities and this adds to the complexity of the endeavour.” If the data is not appropriately recorded (in the central clearing house), incoming calls could be lost,” Rajeev pointed out.