Today my mobile service provider made me feel very special. Reason? I initiated the first step to change my service provider by getting a Unique Portable ID.
No sooner did I send an SMS to 1900 with text 'PORT' followed by space, followed by my mobile number (for example: PORT 912345xxxx to 1900) I get a Unique Porting ID (UPID which you must not confuse with Unique Identity Number or UID) in less than 10 seconds.
And then begins the magic for me (more about it later).
By the way UPID is a must if mobile phone users have to change their existing service provider.
And you would want to do this only if you are unhappy with the services offered by your service provider.
But that can be a different story in itself.
Nevertheless, this is how your alpha-numeric UPID looks like: PZ123456 (first two alphabets in capital letters followed by six digits). UPID comes with a two-month expiry date (I got my UPID today and it expires on April 2, 2011).
Now, for the magic bit.
Within an hour of getting UPID (God knows who sent this. I suspect it must be my existing service provider) I get a message from my service provider which makes me feel my service provider is trying to woo me (V-Day is just round the corner).
The message reads: You are a special member of the (name of the service provider) family and we have the best in store for you. We will contact you soon in regard to the same.
Magic because I had no clue my existing service provider loves me so much. Never before this have I been so special to my service provider (when was the last time, if you remember, did your service provider woo you like this?).
Meanwhile, here is what you must do after you get your UPID to disconnect your existing service provider or want to stop being a special member of their family.
Take this UPID to the service provider you would want to opt for -- in the hope that the latter too will consider you a special member of their family; Warning: such hopes can soon become grand delusions (ask those who switched their home loan lenders) -- along with your address proof, identity proof and photograph and fill in the application form.
Your would-be service provider will happily take your form and submit your request to some arcane organisation like 'mobile portability clearing house' (a central database and an intermediary between your ex and new service provider I suppose which keeps track of all the switches).
The clearing house then sends a request to your existing service provider to deactivate your mobile number as part of their database and requests your new service provider to switch your number on their network and activate it.
Once this is done will you get an SMS from your new service provider giving you details like the date and time during which your phone will not get any service (apparently to execute the switch between two different networks).
Once you overcome this 'no-service' period bravely -- which incidentally is from midnight to 5 am -- in a bout of restlessness about the future of your mobile number, the next morning you will be ready to make calls on your new service provider's network.
Meanwhile, I will wait for the special offers that my service provider has promised will come my way. I have almost 60 days to check that out.