Manmohan to roll out mobile number portability today

Manmohan to roll out mobile number portability today

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will formally announce a nationwide roll-out of the much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service on Thursday. This facility will allow mobile subscribers to switch operators without changing their phone numbers, thus forcing telecom companies to improve efficiency of their networks, offer competitive tariffs and more value-added services.

“I think it is a great step forward for the consumer, as it enhances choice and brings in more competition, because the more efficient you are as a service provider, the more likely that consumers will choose you,” Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists here on Wednesday.

Due to technical reasons and laxity on the part of telecom operators, the MNP missed at least three deadlines last year. However, it was introduced in Haryana as a test case in November 2010. In the meantime, private operators had already begun a major marketing campaign, creating awareness of the service in order to woo mobile users.

How much churning will happen in the mobile space due to MNP, only time will tell; but it will definitely put pressure on mobile operators to offer better and more value-added services not only to woo customers but also to retain their existing customers. Some operators could further slash their tariffs to attract customers. Mobile operators such as Idea Cellular, Vodafone Essar, Uninor, Reliance Communications, Airtel and Aircel are all geared to introduce the MNP to give a boost to their subscriber base.

“Idea is ready to enable the MNP on its network and has made substantial investment in network, technology and processes to allow mobile subscribers to switch network and move to Idea, post MNP. Idea has also launched an MNP helpline to guide mobile subscribers on various aspects and procedures of number portability. The mobile users across all 22 circles can call up the toll-free number and register their requests for porting on the Idea network,” Idea Cellular said in a statement.

According to CDMA operator Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL) president and Chief Executive Officer Vsevolod Rozanov: “I think tariffs will go down further especially if we speak about the post-paid customer base, where we are likely to see the average revenue per user going down. In the pre-paid segment, I doubt a significant change in their tariffs or profitability.” The SSTL offers services under the brand MTS.

Source: The Hindu


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