Switch your mobile provider, keep your old number

Finally,  number portability comes to India

Expect to see service by September


Bangalore: May 7: The ability to retain their mobile phone numbers, even if they change their business to another service provider will soon be something Indian customers can soon  enjoy. Number portability,  mooted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority and  made mandatory by the government,  is being implemented across the country and hopefully users can  enjoy the benefits, come September 2009. 


Government has roughly carved the country into two zones:   one covering the North and the West, the second covering  the South and the East.    The licence to implement number portability services has been awarded to two qualified agencies: Syniverse for zone 1 and Telcordia  Technologies for zone 2. 


Telcodia's expertise will be deployed through its joint venture in India with MNP Interconnection Telecom  Solutions Pvt LtdRichard  Jacowleff President, Interconnection Solutions at the Piscataway, New Jersey (US)-base Telcoprdia, is  Chairman designate of the Indian entity MNP Interconnection   and he was in Bangalore last week with Managing Director MNP, Ashok Sapra,  to kick off the company's number portability  services here in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata  to be followed by  West Bengal and the North Eastern states. 


MNP will act as the buckle that  helps transition the customer's number from one service provider to another (  for a start only within  the same telecom circle).   The Department of Telecommunications has mandated that this should not take more than two days and that the phone should not remain deactivated for more than two hours. 


Telcordia  does all interconnections in North America, Mr Jacowleff explained  -- and India is  the 15th country  where its solutions are being deployed.  The company's initial investment here is in the order of $ 10 million.  Mr Sapra  expected about 4-5 percent of subscribers to opt for number portability.  The big question is who will pay and how much.  Informal feedback from the industry is that in India  the customer will be asked to pay a fee -- and  the  amount has not yet been decided. It is unlikely to me more than Rs 400- Rs 500 since anything higher will be self defeating.


Hindu Businessline reported   May 5, that Telcordia is also in talks  with Indian government agencies to offer  Electronic Number Mapping -- ENUM --  where the subscriber can use his  mobile phone number  as a universal  personal ID.