India is a massive country with a diverse population and a vast user base of mobile devices and networks. With the market offering such immense potential, it isn’t surprising that the competition between telecom operators is booming.
This is a boon for users who have access to new and more affordable telecom plans every day. They can easily move from one network to another when they want to save money and avail better offers. If you wish to do the same, you need to understand the mobile number portability (MNP) rules provided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
The authority came up with new rules and guidelines in December 2019, intending to facilitate hassle-free porting for mobile users across the country. Before explaining these rules in detail, we shall talk about number portability and how it works.
What is mobile number portability?
Essentially, mobile number portability (MNP) refers to the facility that allows users to switch from one operator to another. You may do it to get a better offer from another service provider or simply because you are not happy with your current provider.
The best part about the service is that it only changes your network provider, not your mobile number. This means that you don’t have to worry about sharing your new number with all your contacts; they will probably not even know about the switch. Additionally, you can change operators regardless of geographical location.
How you can port your mobile number
Now that you are well aware of mobile number porting, you will want to learn about the actual process. According to the latest TRAI guidelines, you will have to use a unique porting code (UPC) to be able to complete the process.
You will have to apply through your telecom provider, and they will generate the code after validating your account. The regulator will first verify your eligibility as a subscriber to port your number. Here are the eligibility criteria:
- You are an active user of the current network and have been using it for at least 90 days.
- You have cleared all your pending payments to the provider if you are using a postpaid service.
- You have no pending contractual obligations according to the exit clause in the subscriber agreement.
- Porting of the particular mobile number is not prohibited by the court of law
- You will not be allowed to port the number if it is sub-judice
- You will not be eligible if you have already applied to change the ownership of your mobile number
Steps to port your mobile number
Once eligibility is sorted, porting your number is pretty simple. Here are the steps you will have to follow.
Step #1: You will have to start by sending an SMS to 1900, with the text “PORT” followed by a space and your ten-digit mobile number.
Step #2: After step 1, you will get a UPC via SMS. It is valid for four days in all Licensed Service Areas (LSAs), except for Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and North East LSAs. It remains valid for up to 30 days.
Step #3: Visit the nearest customer service centre of the new operator within the validity period. You will have to fill up the Porting Form and Customer Acquisition Form (CAF) here, and submit your KYC document(s) as well. These include your ID proof, address proof, and photographs. Corporate connections require a NOC on the company letterhead, duly signed and stamped by the authorised signatory.
Step #4: After you submit the forms and documents, pay a transaction fee of Rs 6.46.
Step #5: You will get a new SIM and a message confirming the submission of your request.
How long is the process?
The new TRAI guidelines state that porting within the same circle or LSA will be done within three working days. Conversely, porting to another circle takes five days. It is a considerably shorter process now, as compared to the initial 15 days. However, there is an exception here as you can expect the process to take 30 days for Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and other states in Northeast India.
It is important to note that you can experience a service disruption of four hours during the night when porting is done. You can also withdraw your request if you change your mind.
The process is simple––you only have to send an SMS to 1900. The text this time will be “CANCEL”, followed by space and your ten-digit mobile number. But you can send the withdrawal message only within 24 hours of your porting request.
Mobile number porting is the easiest and most hassle-free process to move to another provider without having to change your number. The new TRAI guidelines have made it quicker and all the more stress-free. You only need to follow the procedure, and everything will be done within a few days.