Syniverse Technologies is one of two licencees selected by the government for implementation of mobile number portability.
Vice president and CEO Sanjay Kasturia talks about the initial trends in mobile number portability, launched all across India on January 20, and other issues in an interview with Mansi Taneja. Edited excerpts:
What has been the response to MNP? What churn rate do you expect?
The numbers are increasing; mobile subscribers are availing the service. We have seen a churn rate of four-five per cent in the initial phase.
We expect this to stabilise to an average of two-three per cent in the next nine to 12 months. India is an unique market, where mobile users are predominantly prepaid. And, so much competition, with so many players in the market.
What trends emerged in the initial launch? Are prepaid users going in for MNP more than postpaid ones?
Yes, the prepaid numbers are higher. But a more clearer picture will only emerge after six months of the launch.
There is also a higher shift from CDMA subscriber base to GSM. But let's wait for some more time to arrive at definitive trends.
There have been various complaints by mobile users over the glitches in implementation of MNP at various ends.
The service is smooth but some problems/complaints are bound to happen in the initial period. It is a huge implementation exercise.
We are in constant discussions with the Telecom Regulatory of India and all other operators and various measures have been taken to resolve the problems.
For instance, many corporate users have requested for MNP, which is not possible as such plans are centrally controlled by the organisation. People are not aware, we need to create more customer awareness.
There were some problems initially, but we have been witnessing a decline in the problems and in the coming months, all issues will be sorted out.
How has been global experience with MNP?
We have implemented MNP in many countries, including the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK and Finland.
In the US, the churn rate was two-three per cent and in Hong Kong, it was eight-10 per cent. We have seen the rate stabilising after a year of launch.
Do you think MNP will be a success in India?
The success will depend on customer awareness. Pricing will not be the only reason for mobile subscribers to shift to other operators.
Eventually, the quality and customer service will play a major role.
Image: Sanjay Kasturia. | Photograph courtesy: Business Standard