Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mobile number portability? What's that?

New Delhi: It was viewed as a tool to empower the consumer. But now chinks are showing up in the armour of the much-hyped Mobile Number Portability (MNP) scheme. Customers who have applied to shift to a different network complain they are facing huge problems. Most of them have alleged that their existing service provider is not allowing them to make the switch. Saket Dokania who is using an Airtel connection had applied to shift to Reliance. But 20 days later he is still trying. "I applied for MNP on January 30 and also bought a new SIM of Reliance. I also submitted my documents. After that I got a call from Airtel customer care about the reasons for changing the operator. I made it clear that my connection is proving to be costly. mobile number portability

They offered to reduce the call rates as well as SMS charges for me. I rejected the offer and said that I will switch to Reliance. After that it's been 20 days but there has been no communication from their side. I have made around 50 calls to customer care but all in vain. In retaliation they have added a poor quality hello tune on my number and have also deducted my balance," said Saket. Some complain that operators are not allowing them to make the switch, while others are unhappy with the delays. A customer said he was facing problems during the change-over period which stretched to more than a week. To switch over to another operator, a user has to send an SMS to 1900. On doing this the present operator will reply with a unique porting code which is valid for 15 days. The consumer has to use this code and the application form for the company to which he/she wants to shift. Within a week the recipient operator will take over the service. Similar is the experience of Sharad Natani, contractor and resident of Sarita Vihar area. "I wanted to shift to Idea as I find their GPRS service good. So on January 28 I bought an Idea SIM and submitted all the documents. I even got my unique porting number which is valid only for 15 days. That has expired now. I have been calling customer care for shifting to the new network but they are not letting me go. MNP war has shown the true colours of telecom giants. Finally I have applied again and have got a new unique porting number. I hope my number gets shifted now," he said. Amidst this open war, none of the companies is taking responsibility for the distress to consumers but they expressed the view that the new MNP advertisements are playing an important role in attracting fresh customers. According to GSM lobby COAI Director-General Rajan Mathews, technical glitches were bound to crop up in the first few weeks, especially considering the scale of the project. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has claimed that the entire process of switching operators will take a maximum of seven days and subscribers may face disruption of services for about two hours during that period. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is monitoring the whole MNP process and attending to complaints. It has warned service providers against deliberate delays and complaints regarding regulations. Who's calling? The advent of MNP has also added to the problem of unwanted telemarketing calls for clients. If you are getting calls from a customer care executive asking about your mobile network then the possibility is quite high that the call is not from your existing service provider but from a rival company which is trying to get your feedback and convince you to shift to its network. Vasundhara enclave resident Harsh Vardhan Singh who is using an Idea connection for last five years was taken aback when he got a call from a rival network. "I received a call from a mobile number and it seemed like a call from my home service provider. The caller asked me about my experiences and if I was facing any problems. Later the caller revealed that he was calling from a rival company and was offering a better tariff plan with promise of better service," he said.


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