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It is in the news from a long time that Nepal is going to implement Mobile Number portability (MNP). Though it was in shelves for some period, the regulator is in the process to appoint international consultant for MNP. The international consultant shall provide the best practice of the regulatory framework for MNP and give the requirement of necessary tools, resources to implement this.
Mobile number Portability (MNP) is a service through which customers can switch from one operator to another, keeping their original mobile number. Customers can easily select the network of their choice and don’t have to panic for loosing their mobile number. Like for example, if you have a mobile number 9801****** (which is a Ncell number) and you want to switch to Nepal Telecom number, then you can do it by requesting MNP with Ntc, keeping the same number. As most of the people do not change the operator due to this reason, this service is termed as an important tool for increasing competition in the telecom market. It is also thought of as a tool to enhance innovation and different services for customers. This regulatory approach is being used by most of the international regulatory body worldwide.
In developed countries, Customers can apply online for the new service provider with their proper identification. It usually takes one or two days for the number to be activated in new SIM (home delivery or need to pick up from shops). Till that time, the old SIM operates from the previous mobile network. Whereas in some developing countries, customers need to visit the customer center of shops of the new service provider and apply for the MNP. Previously it used to take a week for the activation of the number with the new service provider, but now it works within one or two days. India has come a long way for MNP
There can be regulation practice for the number of days to keep the number in one service provider. But the no of times you can switch with the same number is as many times as you want.
There can be a small charge for the MNP or the new SIM. As seen in major countries worldwide, the trend is to provide it free of charge. Lets see how will NTA or Nepali operators will come up for this.
As subscribers need not worry to update their friends, family of their numbers for the change of operator, it is highly beneficial to the customers easily choosing the right or best operator for them. As operators will also bring free offers to make customers port the number to their network, this is also advantageous to them.
As the appointment of consultant is in the process, we can assume that the Mobile number portability will be available in Nepal only in 2018.
With the MNP, the churn rate will be very high and it could disrupt the telecom market. So, the regulator has to be very careful in providing the service in the initial stage. With MNP, the postpaid numbers can be changed to prepaid of another operator and CDMA numbers can even port to GSM. After the application of MNP, you cannot identify the service provider network with the mobile number. We will keep update with MNP, so stay tuned. If you have any queries for MNP, do comment below.