Mobile Number Portability

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MOBILE NUMBER PORTABILITY
1.1

Introduction

Mobile Number Portability offers the subscriber the flexibility to retain his telephone number even when he switches to another operator in a service area. Number portability is a feature that allows a mobile subscriber to use the same number across different service providers. The person/user has the liberty to opt for any service provider without the time-consuming exercise of letting the rest of the world know about the change of number Very often subscribers do not switch to another operator even if the competitor is offering lower tariff and better services because they do not want to change their number. In a consultation paper issued in July 2005, TRAI said that subscribers and operators would benefit from the introduction of the number portability system. As per TRAI, "In most service areas in India, subscribers have a choice of operators, however, the subscriber's inability to retain his telephone number when changing operators is an obstacle to competition. Therefore, MNP will benefit subscribers and increase the level of competition, rewarding operators with the best customer service, coverage, and service quality.”

1.2

Types of Number portability

Number portability can be of different types.

1.2.1 Location-based: This enables a mobile subscriber to use the same number when shifting from one geographical area to another.
1.2.2 Operator-based: This makes it possible for a mobile subscriber (or a fixed telephony subscriber) to shift from one mobile (or a fixed) service provider to another in the same area and retain his original number too.

1.2.3 Service-based: Enables subscribers of a company to use the same numbers across different mobile technologies — Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) based Wireless in Local Loop (WLL).

1.2.4 Convergence-based: Allows usage of the same number while shifting from fixed to mobile telephony.

1.2.5 Total number portability: Enables usage of the same number across different technologies, geographical regions and national boundaries and is the ultimate aim of number portability. It will also be the most difficult to implement and would require a collaborated effort on the global scale among different service providers. It will be a combination of different types of portability options.

Number portability when used to transfer numbers from one service provider to another is called Mobile Number Portability. MNP is already being used in developed markets, which are mature and have a much higher teledensity.

1.3 What number portability would mean to subscribers & service providers ?
When fully implemented nationwide by both wireline and wireless providers, portability will remove one of the most significant deterrents to changing service, providing unprecedented convenience for consumers and encouraging unrestrained competition in the telecommunications industry. In short, this is the best method to

increase the efficiency of the service provider by increasing the competition, thereby ensuring better services in all respects.
From the subscribers’ perspective, this is a deceptively simple and very welcome change, because they can change wireless service providers without worrying about notifying friends, family and business contacts that their wireless number is changing. In addition, being able to ‘port’ a number from one provider to another eliminates the hassle and expenses of changing business cards, stationery, invoices and other materials for businesses. From the wireless carrier’s perspective the change is anything, but simple. Virtually all of wireless carriers’ systems are affected. Especially any system that relies on mobile identity numbers (MINs) or mobile directory numbers (MDNs) will be affected. Examples of critical systems and processes that would be affected are: billing, customer service, order activation, call delivery, roamer...
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