Mobile Number Portability which allows subscribers to switch from one mobile phone service provider to another without changing their mobile phone numbers, was launched in both China and India, the world’s largest mobile markets this week. While China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology rolled out the service from north China’s Tianjin Municipality and south China’s Hainan Province India’s interim Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal rolled out the first phase of the MNP services from Rohtak in Haryana, East India.
Once the service is fully rolled out by the beginning of next year, Chinese subscribers can switch between three mobile service providers – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, Indian subscribers will be able to select from a buffet of approximately eight service providers depending on the telecom circle, these include Airtel, Idea Cellular, BSNL / MTNL, Aircel, Loop, Vodafone, Etisalat and Videocon.
Adoption of MNP will spur competition, lower prices and better quality, amongst all service providers. In order to protect their markets and prevent maximum customer churn mobile service providers in China and India have announced their own eligibility criteria. While some providers have waived off or reduced the MNP fee for adding a subscriber to their network, others have maintained that the subscriber needs to remain on their network for at least three months once they join, yet other subscribers are not allowed to deflect to other select subscribers. Mobile service providers have also significantly upped advertising over the last few weeks, displaying the strength of their networks and exciting value added packages in order to retain subscribers.