PM flags off MNP: to trigger competition among mobile operators

PM flags off MNP: to trigger competition among mobile operators

New Delhi: Ushering in a new and consumer friendly regime in the sector, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday flagged off the nation-wide Mobile Number Portability(MNP), a service that allows subscribers to change service provider while retaining the number.

This would benefit over 700 million subscribers, both in GSM and CDMA categories in the country.

The new option will shift the focus from acquiring new subscribers and bring about a much required change in the quality of services, as well as attitude of operators towards redressal of grievances in order to retain existing ones.

All that a customer needs to do for changing his telecom operator is pay a maximum of 19. The subscriber will get a new service provider within seven working days as per the guidelines of regulator Trai.

“Till now, operators were competing to acquire new subscribers. But launch of MNP will force them to offer innovative and quality services to retain their existing ones," Prime Minister Singh said .

MNP services were first launched in Haryana in November 2010 and according to industry estimates, less than 1% subscribers opted for changing their operators.

The Prime Minister said telecom acts as a catalyst for growth of other sectors of the economy.

“Today’s development, launch of MNP -- will go a long way in enhancing customer’s satisfaction," he added.

With monthly addition of 15 million subscribers, India has achieved a teledensity of 65%.

The Indian telecom sector, which is the fastest growing in the world with the lowest tariffs, has grown from 33 million in March 2004 to about 750 million.

Describing subscriber as a king, Sibal said the service would offer wide choice to customers.

“MNP will compel service providers to offer innovative, affordable and competitive tariff plans for the benefit of the masses," he said.

The minister said the operators will have to make substantial investments in network, technology and processes to ensure continuous improvement of their “quality of service."

Telecom operators have welcomed the launch of MNP services, stating that the move will “liberate" subscribers from non-performing service providers.