Vodafone reaps rich harvest from MNP

Written by Anandita Singh Mankotia | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 27 2011, 15:27pm hrs
After years of waiting, mobile number portability, or the technology to change your telecom operator while keeping the same number, was launched pan-India on January 20. Initial data from the first four days of number portability accessed by FE throw up some interesting trends, in terms of operators as well as regions.

Vodafone-Essar, the countrys third-largest mobile operator has won hands down in terms of consumer preference. It

has emerged as the clear winner with a net 61,789 users wanting to switch to it, followed by Aircel (28,088) and Idea Cellular (15,220). The countrys largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel is at No.4 with a net of only 10,412 users wanting to port to it.

In terms of losers, it seems theres neck-and-neck competition between state-owned BSNL and the countrys second-largest mobile operator Reliance Communications. While BSNLs net loss of customers going by the initial trend stands at 51,462, RCom follows closely at 48,089.

Among telecom circles, Gujarat ranks on top with 30,627 subscribers so far sending in their requests to port. Maharashtra follows with 25,000 requests and Rajasthan is at the third place with 19,706 requests. The maximum number of Gujarats subscribers (10,845) want to port to Vodafone. Similarly, in Maharashtra, the first choice is Idea Cellular with 11,502 wanting to port to it. In Rajasthan too, Vodafone is the first choice with 5,984 wanting to shift to it.

Among metros, Delhi ranked the highest with 15,449 users wanting to port their numbers, almost half of whom (7,218) want to move to Vodafone. Mumbai ranks second with 11,220 wanting to port and once again Vodafone is the first choice (4,812). Only 1,121 subscribers in Kolkata have so far evinced interest in porting and their choice is also once again Vodafone (469).

New telecom operators, often derided as Raja licensees, have once again failed to perform.

This is significant since most of them used to claim that with MNP they would start gaining subscribers. Sistema-Shyam's MTS brand is the biggest loser among them with a net of 1,354 customers wanting to port out of it. Uninor, which has so far been the best among the new lot is the only gainer in the pack with 370 customers wanting to port to it. Around 956 customers of Loop Telecom want to leave it and with regard to HFCL, the number stands at 288.

A consumer has to pay Rs 19 for porting the number. The request has to be messaged to 1900, following which the subscriber will get a unique porting code. This needs to be taken to the new operator's outlet (the one which the user wants to shift to) and the connection would be activated once the due subscriber verification is done. The porting happens within seven days. However, subsequently, there's a lock-in period of 90 days within which the consumer cannot port again.