Economy

3.8 million users shift operators with MNP

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 09, 2011

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Over 3.8 million subscribers have changed their operator using Mobile Number Portability ever since the facility was launched in the country on January 20.

According to numbers released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the maximum porting has happened in Gujarat and Karnataka with as many as 3.65 lakh and 3.18 lakh mobile users respectively shifting their operators.

While the telecom regulator did not give out operator-specific numbers, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular are among the companies that have gained the most. According to industry sources, Vodafone has gained over 2 lakh subscribers as a result of MNP, followed by Idea Cellular with a net gain of 1.9 lakh users. The two operators have advertised aggressively onMNP. Bharti Airtel is in the third spot with a net gain of over 1.5 lakh.

“Incumbents are getting benefits due to improved/ good services, huge marketing, wide area spread and other facilities. We expect that quality of service, tariff offers, customer helping services and 3G will be the key role players; in the future also, these factors will remain in the same pattern,” said a report from Networth Capital.

Globally, new operators have gained on the introduction of number portability, but in India most of the new players have not been able to seize the opportunity. “Most of the new players, barring Uninor and MTS, have not rolled out services fully. They may also be bogged down by the ongoing investigations into the way 2G licences were given to them,” said a market watcher.

Besides, the incumbent players have also been more aggressive in giving freebies and offers to lure customers. Idea Cellular, for example, launched a plan with 200 minutes of free talk time, plus 200 free SMS' a month for Rs 149. Vodafone and Airtel have waived the Rs 19 porting charges, apart from introducing new schemes. RCom and BSNL have also come up with attractive offers though they have ended up losing subscribers.

Consumers, however, are not happy with the way the system is being implemented. Some operators have denied customers unique porting, sending them messages such as ‘sorry customers, please try after some time' or ‘dear customers, please wait for some time'. Thereafter, they (the operators) try to contact the customer to retain him or her. Some operators, after sending the porting code, are rejecting the applications saying that the code is not correct. “In view of the large number of rejections and complaints, TRAI is in the process of verifying the correctness of the port rejections by the service providers on sample basis,” the regulator said.

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Published on March 09, 2011
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