3.8 million Mobile Number Portability requests surface in India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has announced that Mobile Number Portability (MNP) requests nation-wide reached 3.8 million by the end of February. The big question is – who wins and who loses?

Industry sources say the bigger players would highly benefit from the trend of changing operators.

Smaller players are not present widely on a pan-India basis which leads to problems like poor networks outside main cities, poor customer services and weaker value-added services (VAS) compared to the big guys.

The roll-out of 3G may also play a considerable role in the minds of customers, but this factor is only limited to consumers from TIER-I cities. Only a handful of telcos, primarily the major incumbents, would be able to roll out 3G on a pan-India basis as they have won the spectrum to spread the third generation services across all telecom circles. But the new entrants and region-strong telcos would lose a good chunk of their subscriber base.

Among the big players, Airtel and Vodafone may snatch a good number of subscribers from new entrants. The state-run telco, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) would gain a great deal too.

Sources close to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) says: “Smaller players might just make the tariff war a bit more interesting as it seems to be their only unique selling point compared to major ones.”

As per the data reported by the service providers, about 3.8 million subscribers have submitted their requests to different service providers for porting their mobile number over. Out of these requests around 320,000 requests alone are from the state of Haryana wherein MNP was implemented from 25th Nov. 2010.

In the rest of the country, in MNP Zone-I (Northern & Western India) the most number of requests have been received in Gujarat (365,000) followed by Rajasthan (314,000) whereas in MNP Zone-II (Southern & Eastern India) the most number of requests have been received in Karnataka (318,000) followed by Tamil Nadu Service area (276,000).
But there are problems with MNP as TRAI monitors its implementation in the country. The primary reasons for rejection of MNP request are incorrect unique porting code and existing contractual obligations and outstanding dues.

In view of the large number of rejections and complaints, TRAI is in the process of verifying the correctness of the port rejections from the service providers on a sample basis.