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Pan-India mobile number portability launch today

Yahoo! India Finance

Today's the day all those frustrated with their mobile phone networks have been waiting for. They can dump their operator for a better one just for Rs 19. And yes, it's for both post-paid and pre-paid customers.

As Mobile Number Portability takes off across the country today, all you need to do is switch operators if the one you have isn't meeting your needs and standards. Of course, you can only do it within the current service area. So it doesn't really help people who are moving cities. You can't retain the number you had in Mumbai if you shift base to Delhi. But that apart, this service is sure to soothe a few frazzled nerves and help you block a lot of unwanted service calls off.

Though studies reveal that MNP will make a negligible difference to subscriber base of operators and therefore to service as a whole, it'll be worth tracking the customer enthusiasm and reaction to the much-hyped service that's finally being launched, three years late.

For a more detailed story, read here.

Also, analysts believe that number portability might spur a price war again and the profitability of Indian cellular service providers is likely to be squeezed.

Amit K Khire of Ambit Capital, told DNA newspaper, "We expect MNP to increase the cost structure of all the players as they will need to spend more on improving their quality of service and customer care,"

However telcos believe that users will now look for quality providers.

"Post-paid users generally have a higher standard of service and broader requirements. The operators will offer them bundles of sops and services. This might also happen for that class of prepaid subscriber that mimics the postpaid subscriber," said Rajan Mathews, director general of lobby group, the Cellular Operators Association of India or COAI in Live Mint.

Cashing in on this opportunity Idea has now opened a call centre exclusively to handle MNP issues.

But finally who will benefit from the number portability. Wall Street Journal's analysis gives you the answer.

So what exactly is MNP or mobile number portability and how does it work?

What is it?

It is a new facility that allows you to switch your user without changing your mobile number. In fact, mobile number portability can be done even if you keep the same technology—GSM to GSM connection—or change it —CDMA to GSM connection and vice versa.

How to switch - Rules:

a) Subscribers who want to avail of this service, first need to send an SMS: PORT your mobile number to 1900 from their mobile. They will get an eight-digit alphanumeric code and an expiry date for that code from the current service provider. This code is called unique porting code, or UPC.

b) Then he needs to fill the application in a particular format and mention the new service provider, he would like to subscribe for.

c) The new service provider will collect the information about the user from the current operator. A time period of seven days will be taken for the complete transfer of mobile number to the network of the new mobile operator.

d) As a transformation charge for the new operator the subscriber has to pay Rs 19.c