In early 2011, Government of India made it easier for people to switch between mobile phone carriers. Prior to this, switching between carriers was not allowed and one had to abandon their phone number altogether if they wanted to switch. After 2011, users of a specific network could switch to another one without losing out on their phone number. This made it a fair playground and forced carriers to compete on merit rather than users’ helplessness to change their number.
Mobile number portability has since proven very useful, especially since mobile phone numbers have become a part of a person’s ID. Most services you use on a daily basis are closely associated to the Aadhar which in turn is linked to a mobile number. Banking and wallets are also linked to respective phone numbers where service providers send over One Time Passwords (OTPs) which validate transactions. In case you do not like the service provided by your operator for any reason, you can port by following the steps given below:
Generate an 8 digit Unique Porting Code (UPC)
Send “PORT” <10-digit mobile number> to 1900 from your old network. You will receive an 8-digit UPC and its expiry date. Make a note of this.
Prepare required documents
The new network you will port to will require a couple of documents from you to validate your ID. Here’s what you can submit:
- 2 Passport-size photographs
- ID proof – Aadhar card photocopy will work; PAN card photocopy; Driving license
- Address proof – Electricity bill; Ration card photocopy
Visit the desired mobile operator’s outlet
Visit the outlet of the network you’re looking to port your number into. Present the documents together with the 8 digit UPC code. Make sure you do so before the code expires.
Choose a tariff plan of your preference
Choose a plan that’s appropriate for you. You may want to look out for offers as most networks hand-out extra benefits for people who are porting on to their network. You will also get the option to opt for either prepaid or postpaid.
Allow up to seven days for the number to successfully port to the new network. The maximum time it takes is seven days for the whole process to complete.
Fast forwarding to 2018, things have become much faster and waiting up to seven days for the process to complete is rather annoying. This is likely to change. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is expected to issue a consultation paper by the end of this month. This paper will include new guidelines to speed up the process to as little as 24 hours.
TRAI chairman R. S. Sharma stated:
“We will be bringing a consultation paper on expediting MNP. Today, the process takes time. The consultation paper will be aimed at reducing that time and changing the processes. We are currently working on it and will issue it by the month-end.”
In addition to expediting the process, the governing authority will also seek industry opinion on how the process can be made more secure and fool-proof. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter handle to find out about more developments on this front as and when they happen.