I did tell you I won’t be holding my breath waiting for Mobile Number Portability, didn’t I? Just a few days later, any optimism I might have had has been dashed. Leading GSM operators like Vodafone, Airtel and Idea have told the Department of Telecommunications that Mobile Number Portability should only be implemented in January!
The reason they are citing is that with the onset of the Festive Season, mobile usage in the country peaks too. Making it very difficult for them to follow that DoTs proposed implementation schedule beginning 25th November. Stating that the customer is likely to suffer because quality of service is likely to be compromised as a result of pushing Mobile Number Portability during the same period. Passing the buck back to the DoT, the Telcos claimed that they were ready for MNP for a year and now it is being brought it an at a time when it could affect their services. Since most of them have outsourced their network infrastructure to international companies. They also raised concerns that there is a huge likelihood of engineers being on leave during the holiday season.
CDMA and newer GSM operators are ready for Mobile Number Portability and believe that the DoT should go ahead with its current plans.Of course the incumbent operators have never looked at MNP too favourably considering they stand to lose out the most. The biggest deterrent to switching mobile connections is that fact that it is a hassle to change your mobile number. Even more so given that every other service from your bank to your DTH connection is tied to your 10 digit identity. Mobile Number Portability will inject an amount of fluidity that can result in a large user churn.
To me, all this talk of “Inconvenience to the Customer” is more about posturing rather than genuine concern. Lets add another angle, in light of DoCoMo unveiling 3G services and assuming their network held up well in the ’1 week free’ stress test would you be tempted to jump ship while keeping your number? I know I would! When margins are as tight as they are in the Telecom Industry, MNP overlapping with the period of 3G rollout could lead to them bleeding a substantial number of users.
Do you think their concern is genuine? Or are they just posturing? Let us know!