Mobile operators across India have begun offering mobile number portability in order to comply with a government deadline.
While MNP has been offered in certain Indian regions since 2011, last November the Department of Telecom approved the regulator TRAI’s recommendation that the service should be made available nationwide. While the initial deadline was May 3rd, this was extended by 2 months to accommodate the required updates to the national numbering plan.
Mobile number portability allows subscribers to retain their existing mobile numbers when they move between networks and regions. The 22 telecom circles of India, which roughly align with its state borders, have therefore proven a challenge for mobile number portability.
Rajan Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India, said: “It has been a very complex exercise with 500,000 towers and switches, two MNP providers and mobile operators, but we’re ready now.”
According to TRAI’s figures, over 157 million customers have ported their numbers within the same region. Airtel has stated that it can process porting requests within 24 hours, and Idea Cellular has launched a free calling service to enable the transition.