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DTH Updates : Tech aid to mobile number portability
The master database will be managed by a third party MNP service provider

Mobile number portability (MNP) might offer freedom of choice to subscribers, but for stakeholders who facilitate this service, it is a complex task.

A process that kicks off with the subscriber opting for another service provider while retaining one’s mobile number, sets off a string of actions on the part of the technology provider who arranges a complex web of systems to transfer the number from one operator to another.

A service provider has to ‘port’ the 10-digit number to the telecom company of the subscriber’s choice when a request for the same is received, globally, there are two models of porting — donor-led and recipient-led porting. India has opted for the subscriber-friendly recipient-led porting procedure. In this process, the new service provider of choice – called the recipient – takes the initiative to register the subscriber to its network.

Once the subscriber’s mobile number and the recipient’s network ID are paired and updated on a master centralised database, the process is complete. The master database is managed by the MNP service provider — a third-party firm that facilitates the process. Two companies – Syniverse Technologies and Telcordia – have been given the responsibility to implement MNP in India.

The MNP service provider has to set up a centralised clearing house (CH) — a systems used by operators to port mobile subscriber numbers. The CH shall exchange and notify all operators of the ported numbers and their associated routing information.

The process is as follows: Once the subscriber approaches the recipient operator (new operator), the request is forwarded to the donor operator (incumbent services provider). The donor operator evaluates the request with either an approval or rejection. The recipient operator then confirms with an order that gives details of the date and time for porting. At the agreed time and date, the donor operator notifies the MNP CH that the subscriber is disconnected. Then the recipient operator notifies the MNP CH and the user gets connected on the network. Once this is done, the onus is on the MNP CH to notify that the number has been ported.


* Subscribers will have to approach the telecom service provider of their choice for porting
* The process would take two to three working days
* The break-then-make step should be completed in two hours
* Consumers will have to clear all dues
* Once ported, a subscriber will not be allowed to switch operators before 90 days
* A subscriber will be allowed to cancel his/her request to port within 24 hours

Once the number is ported, the call routing procedure starts. “For call routing, India has selected the all-call query (ACQ) model that requires each call to be checked against a database of ported numbers to determine which network should terminate the call,” said Sanjay Kasturia, director, India Subcontinent, Syniverse.

The entire process of porting takes a few days, because the subscriber has to submit applications to both telecom operators. Moreover, DoT has mandated the break-then-make model. “Under this the donor provider will cut off service to the subscriber and then the new recipient provider will establish a connection. This process has been initiated to ensure that the mobile number is not active on two networks at the same time. The duration between the ‘break’ and the ‘make’ is expected to be two hours,” said Kasturia.

A post-paid customer has to clear all dues with the existing player to make the switchover. In case you are a pre-paid user, then your balance will not be carried forward. Once ported, a user cannot switch to another telecom network for 90 days. Number porting is not allowed across circles. In such a scenario, the subscriber would have to pay roaming charges.

The technology from Syniverse will provide the operator-side MNP gateway systems that need to be put in place by service providers. These solutions provide a means for the operators to ensure that they can interact with the master centralised database to enable number portability and allow calls for ported numbers. “In addition, all operators in Zone I will utilise the Syniverse MNP CH and CNPDB as the authority for call routing. Subscribers can then have seamless, end-to-end portability,” said Kasturia.

Considering the huge logistics involved the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) have divided the 22 circles into two geographic zones. Each zone is further divided into 11 service areas — cities within the zones. Syniverse is responsible for the MNP systems and portability issues for Zone I and Telcordia will be present in Zone II.

MNP services will start from November 25 in Haryana on a pilot basis and subsequently be available to all the other centres.
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