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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

Last updated on: November 25, 2010 16:49 IST

Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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India on Thursday ushered in Mobile Number Portability that will allow cellphone users to switch operators without changing numbers, with Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal launching the service in Haryana.

The consumer friendly service was mooted over two years ago and was planned to be implemented by end of 2009.

Mobile subscribers in Haryana will have to pay Rs 19 to switch between operators present in the state.

The rest of India would get to use MNP from January 20, next year.

The all-India launch date took a while to be fixed due to differences between the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the GSM mobile industry.

While DoT was adamant over the launch of MNP by December 20, GSM companies had been asking to postpone the date by a month to January 20.

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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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If you are worried about how to retain your number without changing the service privider, follow these simple steps.

Send an SMS to 1900 in following format: PORT - eg. PORT 0000000000.

You will get an SMS reply that contains a unique porting code.

Note: 0000000000 = your mobile number.

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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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A mobile subscriber will have to put in request with the recipient (new) operator for porting his number.

SMS to the preferred operator quoting the unique code.

This code is valid only for a few days, and one must apply again if it expires.

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Image: A farmer talks on his phone.
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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A post-paid customer has to clear all dues with the existing operator to make the switch.

In case of a pre-paid subscriber, the balance will not be carried forward.

Only after these checks are made, approval will be given for porting.

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Image: A sadhu speaks on his phone at Kumbh Mela.
Photographs: Courtesy, World Wide Web Consortium.
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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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You will get an SMS on the time and date when porting will take place.

The process will take two to three working days and the subscriber will be allowed to cancel his request to port within 24 hours.

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Image: A pineapple fruit seller in Kolkata speaks on a mobile phone.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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Once porting is complete, your new operator will send an SMS confirming the switch.

There will be a blackout period of two hours while the request is being completed.

Once ported, a subscriber will not be allowed to switch operators before 90 days.

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Image: A woman speaks on a mobile phone at a refugee camp in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
Photographs: Parth Sanyal/Reuters
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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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The deadline for the launch of MNP has already been missed thrice.

Earlier, it was slated to start from October 31 this year, while the first launch date was fixed as December 31, 2009, in the metros and category-A circles, while the rest of the country was slated to have this platform by April 1, 2010.

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Image: Ceremonially dressed soldiers in Srinagar, Kashmir, record the Republic Day celebrations.
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
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Number portability is finally here. How to go about it

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The main reason for the delay has been similar throughout -- the operators were not ready as they were still testing their networks.

The second reason was the uncertainty over the fate of Telcordia - one of the two companies which was given the mandate to implement MNP.

The company's proposal has now been cleared by the home ministry.

Another reason was delay in FIPB clearance which had got stuck on security issues.


Image: An onion vendor speaks on his mobile phone.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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