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NTA To Implement Mobile Number Portability Soon In Nepal

Mobile Number Portability could soon begin in Nepal. After not receiving any suggestions for its MNP’s draft rules from telecom operators, NTA has proceeded to launch the feature.

In November 2021, NTA had sought suggestions from telecom operators on its preliminary draft rules for Mobile Number Portability (MNP). But the regulator didn’t receive instructions for any modifications. This is why NTA will now move ahead with the revolutionary cellular technology.

Mobile Number Portability shortly known as MNP is a technology that allows phone users to switch between mobile network carriers without changing their SIM cards.

If you are not satisfied with a particular mobile network due to various reasons including poor quality/weak signal, then you can port to another mobile network, without changing your number. Such a service can revolutionize the user experience of mobile phone users.

Not Receiving suggestions, a positive for us

“We have received suggestions to our MNP guidelines from international telecommunications Companies. But we didn’t receive any from domestic telcos”, NTA Director Ambar Sthapit said.

“We are taking this positively. Not receiving any suggestions from concerned telcos means the regulator can move ahead with its plan. This is why we have adopted a few instructions from stakeholders and proceeded with the MNP. Our MNP rules have reached NTA Board and we began working on it for two weeks already. With further discussions, the Board meeting will approve the rules,” he added.

What is Mobile Number Portability?

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 about losing their mobile number.

For an instance, if you have a mobile number 9801****** (which is a Ncell number) and you want to switch to a Nepal Telecom number, then you can do it by requesting MNP with Ntc, keeping the same number. As most 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. They call the process to port out the number from one operator to another. It is also thought of as a tool to enhance innovation and different services for customers. This regulatory approach is used by most international regulatory bodies worldwide.

SIM card

MNP is very common around the world. It is already available in over 100 countries already. The data has it that over 40% of mobile numbers in those countries have been ported.

The news of Mobile Number Portability in Nepal is not new either. NTA has long planned to implement the next-gen technology. However, this could never take off and mobile phone users have long waited for such service to come into effect. However, the wait could finally be over.

NTA Releases Its Rulebook For MNP

NTA has already released its rules for Mobile Number Portability 2078 and now MNP is imminent to be available.

As per the draft, a mobile phone user in Nepal will be able to switch to a different carrier network without changing the mobile number.

NTA will implement MNP in Nepal through a third-party service provider. The responsible party will maintain and implement the service through “Number Portability House”. The authority will soon call for a bid from interested firms to operate the number portability service in Nepal.

Also read: Causes of Mobile & Internet Network Outage And What You Should Do?

A User’s Criteria To Qualify For MNP?

The draft containing rules for MNP has stipulated a set of conditions on the users’ end to acquire the number switching service. Below are some key terms or conditions that a SIM user must meet to acquire the service.

  • A phone user must have actively used his contact number for over 90 days.
  • One’s current mobile number must be registered on the database of the mobile carrier you want to switch to.
  • There must not be any liabilities with the current mobile network service provider.
  • The number must not have been blocked at the time of requesting for the portability service etc.

Required in the Form for The Service

NTA has also mandated a phone user must submit his detail along with many other data to qualify for number portability. You can check out some of them below.

  • The phone number one wants to port to another mobile network must not have been lost by its original owner. It should also be free from use for illegal purposes.
  • The user must be aware that he/she will lose the remaining balance on a number while porting the number to another network.
  • The user must also keep cognizance that the service charges might be different after porting to another mobile network.
  • To verify the identity, a user can submit an official document provided by the government. This may include a National Id Card, a driving license, a voter’s ID, etc. For a foreign national, a passport would be necessary, etc.

The MNP service operator will collect the charges for the service while NTA will dictate the fare for it. NTA and the MNP service provider both store the data it collects from the phone users at the process of number porting securely in its directory.

If a user meets all the terms and conditions, then he/she must submit the form for portability at the office of the mobile network one wishes to switch to.

You can find NTA’s draft rulebook for the Mobile Number Portability at this link.

Being able to port the number to another mobile network operator is a privilege. It could surely elevate our mobile phone experience to a whole new level. We all have waited long for this, but the technology could land very soon in Nepal.

Check out: Nepal Government regulating OTT and IPTV Platforms

How can a customer apply for MNP? How long does it take?

In developed countries, Customers can apply online for a new service provider with their proper identification. It usually takes one or two days for the number to be activated in a 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.

How many times you can apply 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.

Check out: NTA approves Infrastructure Sharing And Pricing Bylaw

How much will it cost for MNP?

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. Let’s see how will NTA or Nepali operators will come up with this.

How do customers benefit from MNP?

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 to easily choose 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.

When will MNP be available in Nepal?

As stated above, NTA asked for suggestions for its Mobile Number Portability before it could proceed with the service launch. Now, as operators seem to agree with its module, the feature could soon roll out for mobile phone users in Nepal.

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 users can change their number 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, which you can do it now. Check How to identify telecom operators (Ntc, NCell, Smart Cell) with the mobile number in Nepal?

Tell us what do you think of Mobile number portability in Nepal? If you have some reservations about NTA’s set of terms and conditions for the MNP, do share your feedback in our comments section below.

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