Subscribers don’t seem to rate different operators very differently, and therefore the idea of switching operators in quest for better network quality doesn’t really build great excitement. Moreover, the MNP regulation requires subscribers not to leave the operator they switch to, for a period of three months. This means a subscriber could be stuck with yet another bad–or maybe worse–network after switching.
If the idea is to really give teeth to consumers/subscribers, the “three-month” condition needs to be amended. MNP can then be used to bring about improvements in network and service qualities. For example, it may be regulated that if an operator has failed to deliver services at a minimum threshold, subscribers may again apply for a migration even if they have not completed the three-month condition.
In the current form, not that there will be no takers for MNP, but the driving factors would be different. Importantly, subscribers wanting to go for 3G services can use MNP to switch operators, if their existing operator doesn’t offer 3G service in their circle. So operators who enjoy a general reputation for good network coverage and quality in a given telecom circle and now have 3G to offer, stand to reap measureable benefits from MNP.
See “Mobile number portability can help 3G takers” http://www.businessandmarket.net/2010/11/mobile-number-portability-can-help-3g.html
This can lead to a scenario where subscribers with higher data usage will switch to 3G operators while voice-heavy subscribers will more likely stick with their existing service providers.
Interestingly, since no pan-India 3G licenses exist, an operator with a creamy layer of subscribers in one circle may have to bear with a churn of its higher-value subscribers to another [3G] operator in another circle.
The 3G licensees in the Haryana circle are Vodafone, Tata Tele and Idea Cellular. It will be worth watching if these operators are able to leverage 3G to woo subscribers to their networks, with MNP duly facilitating the migrations. In Karnataka, for instance, Airtel, Tata Tele and Aircel have got the 3G licenses…
Among other things, consumers can also use MNP to have a common operator among family members, friends or colleagues. This can lead to benefits such as free or unlimited calls to select numbers in a closed user group, depending on the tariff plan and the operator.
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