On 20 Jan 2011, a new era dawned on the Indian Telecom industry with the launch of Mobile Number Portability (MNP). The option to retain a phone number with the freedom to change the Service Provided puts the customer at his rightful place - on top of the pyramid again.
When the Cell phone culture started heating up in India roughly about a decade ago, the extent to which service providers went on to woo customers was incredible (quite as usual BSNL didn’t break much of a sweat but still ended up with many loyal customers – thanks to Mr. Dayanithi’s (the then telecom minister’s) ingenious ‘one India’ plan). But once things got settled and when India had larger number of mobile users than the number of sanitation units (read toilets) the customers were literally pushed down to the lower most part of the pyramid.
Most people had to retain the mobile number they had because that had become their identity. In doing so, they were torn between the multitude of service plans that were all intended only to confuse the customer more and making him end up paying for stuff that he’ll never ever use (because it was coupled & charged with a service that he direly needs). Like it or not, they’d to ‘maintain’ that mobile number.
Then came the ‘dual sim-card’ option in many phones – making the already foggy scenario even more sludgy. People ended up paying for 2 unfathomable service plans!!! I guess the wheel has ultimately taken the complete turn now and the customer is the King yet again with MNP.
So what does it cost – a mere `19 – a one time MNP charge
How is it done:
Simple 4 step procedure:
1. Send a message to 1900 requesting the UPC (Unique Porting Code) which is something like this
SMS to be sent: PORT 9xxxxxxxxx to 1900
2. Get the 8 character (alphanumeric) UNC number in a SMS from 1901
3. Now is the time to move your backside. Head straight to the nearest new service provider showroom or outlet and fill out the MNP and customer agreement form. Also attach the Address & ID proof and a recent photo (self attested) and in cases where applicable, the previous post paid bill
4. Get the new SIM card of the new service provider
After this you wait for at least 7 days (15 in case of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North East). After the wait, you will get an SMS with porting date and time. This is basically the time after which the old SIM’ll cease to work and you’ll have to use the new SIM card. There is a short downtime activity (almost 2 hours) that takes place after the porting time. Thankfully some intelligent soul has designed the downtime between 2 and 5 in the morning!
After the downtime, you can continue to enjoy the same number with a new Service Provider (do remember to change the SIM)
Is there any condition / catch:
Just the one catch that I noticed was that the SIM Charges, talktime and porting cost will not be refunded if you changed your mind halfway about the service provider that you want
This is one of the best telecom initiatives in a very long time and I hope the word spreads across well and many get benefited from such a scheme.
If you are wondering why I have the Vodafone MNP banner at the top, I have two reasons
1. Vodafone was my very first individual Cell phone (Mobile phone) account and whatever crappy plans they had, I love them – customer loyality
2. In my next post I am going to write about the various advertisements by different Service providers for MNP