Mobile number portability
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Mobile number portability is implemented in different ways across the globe. The International and European standard is for a customer wishing to port his/her number to contact the new network (recipient), which then sends the number portability request (NPR) to the current network (donor). This is known as "recipient-led" porting. The UK and India are the only exceptions to implement the donor-led system. The customer wishing to port his/her number is required to contact the donor to obtain a code (Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) in the UK and Unique Porting Code (UPC) in India) which is then given to the recipient network. The recipient continues the porting process by contacting the donor with a porting code. This form of porting is known as "donor-led" and has been criticised by some industry analysts as being inefficient, though it prevents MNP scams. It has also been observed that it may act as customer deterrent as well as allowing the donor an opportunity of "winning back" the customer. This might lead to distortion of competition, especially in the markets with new entrants that are yet to achieve scalability of operation. Based on the recommendations of the Authority on MNP, dated 8 March 2006, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued guidelines for MNP implementation in the country on 1st Aug 2008. Subsequently, the DoT selected two companies as MNP Service providers each serving in a designated zone in the country. As per the instructions of DoT dated 6 May 2009, a Port Transaction Charge will be charged by the MNP Service Provider from the recipient carrier for processing each porting request. The Dipping charge shall be payable by those telecom service providers who utilize the dipping services (query response services) from the MNP Service Provider. The Porting Charge is payable by the subscriber to the recipient carrier for porting his mobile number. The port transaction charge, dipping charges and the porting charge shall be governed by the Telecom Tariff Order (TTO)/ determination by TRAI.
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A significant technical aspect of MNP is related to the routing of calls or mobile messages (SMS, MMS) to a number once it has been ported. There are various flavours of call routing implementation across the globe but the International and European best practice is via the use of a central database (CDB) of ported numbers. A network operator makes copies of the CDB and queries it to find out to which network to send a call. According to RFC3482, this is also known as All Call Query (ACQ) and is highly efficient and scalable. A majority of the established and upcoming MNP systems across the world are based on this ACQ/CDB method of call routing. One of the very few countries not to use ACQ/CDB is the UK, where once a number has been ported, calls to that number are still routed via the donor network. This is also known as "indirect routing" and is highly inefficient as it is wasteful of transmission and switching capacity. Because of its donor dependent nature, indirect routing also means that if the donor network develops a fault or goes out of business, the customers who have ported numbers out of that network will lose incoming calls to their numbers. The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom completed its extended review of the UK MNP process on 29 November 2007, and mandated that ACQ/CDB be implemented for mobile to mobile ported calls by no later than 1 September 2009.[needs update]
Prior to March 2008 it took a minimum of 5 working days to port a number in the UK compared to 3.5 working days in Pakistan, 2 hours in United States, as low as 20 minutes in the Republic of Ireland, 3 minutes in Australia and even a matter of seconds in New Zealand. On 17 July 2007, Ofcom released its conclusions from the review of the UK MNP and mandated reduction of porting time to 2 working days effective 1 April 2008. On 29 November 2007, Ofcom completed a round of consultations on further reduction of porting time to 2 hours along with recipient-led porting and mandated that near-instant (no more than 2 hours) recipient-led porting be implemented by no later than 1 September 2009. However, in early 2008 Vodafone UK appealed the Ofcom statement before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), and on 18 September 2008, CAT ruled in favor of the appeal, returning the matter back to Ofcom for reconsideration. On 8 July 2010, Ofcom issued a final statement, retaining the donor-led process, mandating a two-hour PAC release time, and reducing the porting time from two to one working day.
In a decentralised model of MNP, a FNR (flexible number register) may be used to manage a database of ported out/ported in numbers for call routing.
Number lookup services
Service providers and carriers who route messages and voice calls to MNP-enabled countries might use home location register (HLR) query services to find out the correct network of a mobile phone number. A number of such services exist, which query the operator's HLR over the SS7 signalling network in order to determine the current network of a specified mobile phone number prior to attempted routing of messaging or voice traffic.
Impact of MNP on mobile carriers and customers
MNP is important for telecoms markets because it removes a bar to switching that keeps those with much equity in the number – in particular many business users – prisoner behind a high switching barrier. The reduction in barriers to switching is of particular benefit to challenger carriers against dominant incumbents. Typically, when MNP is implemented in a country, a rise in churn follows.
The caller / customer experience of portability can vary by country. For example, in Portugal any call to a ported mobile number includes an announcement that the number has been ported. Uptake of porting varies considerably by market: A report by Irish regulator Comreg shows over 3 million Irish mobile numbers ported between 2004 and 2013, whereas in Portugal, with a much larger population of mobile users, only a little over one million numbers ported in a similar period.
|Time to port
|Argentina||2010.08.17||1–5 days||ARS 5 ||The plan started in August 2010|||
|Brazil||2008.09.01||0–3||free||The plan started in March 2007|||
|Chile||2012.01.16||1||free||The process takes place overnight. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies|||
|Canada||2007.03.14||0||free||MNP procedure takes 10–20 minutes.|
|Ecuador||2009.10.12||4||free||ASCP handled by Systor, Telconet and JR Electric Supply|
|Mexico||2008.07.05||Service handled by Telcordia Technologies and Neoris|||
|Paraguay||2012.11.30||Up to 8 working days||free||MNP can take up to 8 working days but usually takes no longer than 1-2 working days. Switching occurs between 1am and 5am.|
|Peru||2010.01.01||7-9||free||sim card of the new mobile company that will cost around 15 PEN.|
|United States||2003.11.24||0||free||MNP procedure takes 2 hours.|
|Honduras||2014.04.30||0||free||MNP procedure takes 1 hour.|
|El Salvador||2015.08.24||0||free||The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, administrated by Mediafon and "imCard S.A. de C.V." . MNP procedure takes up to 8 hours, FNP – 3 days.|||
|Time to port
|Republic of Kazakhstan||2016.01.01||5||free||The ongoing NPCDB implementation, the NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, to be administrated by national NPCDB Administrator.|
|Time to port
04x1, 04x2, 04x3 referred to Optus
04x4, 04x5 and 04x6 referred to Vodafone
043x, referred to Vodafone Hutchison Australia formally known as Hutchison 3G Australia.
04x7, 04x8, 04x9 and 0410x referred to Telstra
Some carriers may charge a fee for porting out. MNP takes around 10 to 20 minutes
|Number portability is available nationwide, "Infozillion BD-Teletech Consortium" provided the MNP. customer should have completed a period of 90 days (from the date of activation of the mobile connection) with the current operator, to be eligible for porting to another operator. Similarly, after porting to a new provider the number would be locked in for 90 days.
GrameenPhone, Robi, Airtel-bd, Banglalink all operator can port own Number.
The duration for the process is 7 days and the time a number is deactivated for portability is about 2 hours.
|Hong Kong||1999.03.01||2||free||Service handled by Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA). In the network, you may be charged unexpectedly for a call to a mobile that has been ported form a different network.|||
|India||2011.01.20||7||₹4||Number portability is available nationwide, provided the customer should have completed a period of 90 days (from the date of activation of the mobile connection) with the current operator, to be eligible for porting to another operator. Similarly, after porting to a new provider the number would be locked in for 90 days
The duration for the process is 7 days and the time a number is deactivated for portability is about 2 hours.
|Maldives||2016.03.10||2||MVR 200||Number portability is allowed within a circle. The customer should have completed a period of 90 days (from the date of activation of the mobile connection) with the current operator and any outstanding bills should be cleared, to be eligible for porting to another operator.
Although the duration for the process is 2 days for total process but the time a number is deactivated for portability is 2 hours only.
|Malaysia||2008.10.01||1||free||1 day is a minimum time necessary for porting. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies|||
|Pakistan||2007.03.23||4||free||Customers can port between prepaid and postpaid options. On porting IN, the recipient company provides, free credit and airtime. The service is handled by Pakistan MNP Database (Guarantee) Limited, the joint venture of all the cellular companies of Pakistan.|
|Singapore||2008.06.13||1||free||Customers are not able to port between prepay and post pay options. Vendor for database installation is Syniverse Technologies|||
|Thailand||2010.12.15||2||free||Number Portability Clearinghouse service is handled by Telcordia Technologies. 2 days can be just working days.|||
|Time to port
|Albania||2010.12.22||TBA||TBA||Agreement signed on 2010-12-22 between AKEP (Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications) and the service handling company "INFOSOFT SYSTEMS sh.a.". Service not implemented yet.|||
|Belgium||2002.10.01||2||Free||The central solution CRDC has been re-implemented several times. First time it was implemented by Telcordia Technologies US, second time by Cap Gemini Sweden and Belgium, third time by Porthus Belgium. Access to DB: setup fee : €11 000, annual fee: €3000. Before, the prefixes 047x was for Proximus phones, 048x for Base and 049x for Mobistar|
|Croatia||2006.10.01||5||5 days is maximum possible period necessary for porting a number. Service handled by HAKOM.|
|Czech Republic||2006.01.15||4||Before 2013-09-01 it was 30 days to transfer, now just 4 days|||
|Denmark||2001.07.??||1||DKK 0-29||The central solutions is called OCH - Operators Clearing House. Before 2009 it was 30–60 days to transfer number, now just 1 day|||
|Finland||2003.07.25||5||Free||Handled by the company Numpac|||
|France||2003.06.30||3||Free||Heavily improved since November 2011 with a 3-days maximum lead time (was taking 2 months in most cases before 2007, then 10 days)|||
|Georgia||2011.??.??||Free||From the 1st of January 2017 NPCDB in Georgia is administrated by Mediafon Datapro, the company of Mediafon group, which has won international rebid for NPCDB administration in Georgia in 2016. Mediafon Datapro successfully replaced old solution by modern Numlex NPCDB platform.|||
|Germany||2002.11.01||6||EUR 25||The average price charged is about €25. The exact amount depends on the old provider. A price limit of €30.72 was set by the Bundesnetzagentur.|||
|Greece||2003.09.??||3||Free||Service handled by Telcordia Technologies|
|Iceland||2004.10.01||10||Free||10 days is maximum possible period. Service handled by Telcordia Technologies|
|Ireland||2003.07.25||0||Free||Full mobile number portability in Ireland is a very simple and rapid process, driven by the customer. The request is made to the new operator, then automatically confirmed by SMS or a voice call using a code. It normally completes within a few minutes. Many operators can process requests automatically online through their websites. Requests can occasionally take longer, but usually no more 24 hours. Volumes of ported mobile numbers are reported in the Comreg quarterly report Before 2003, partial mobile number portability was available. Customers retained the last 7-digits of their mobile number, but changed operator prefix. Callers to the old prefix would hear an automatic announcement advising them of the new number. This service was introduced in 1997 and replaced by full portability in 2003. Where an Irish number is ported, mobile callers will hear a 'chirp' tone if they are calling a number that is not on its original network. This alerts them that call charges other networks may apply.|
|Italy||2002.04.01||1||free (1 to 1.6 € if the subscriber wants to transfer his prepaid credit to the new carrier)||The maximum time for the procedure is 24 working hours. In case of delay up to 3 working days no refund is given, if the delay is longer than 3 days user receive a refund of 2.5 € for each day of delay, start counting from day 1.|
|Lithuania||2004.01.01||28||Time to port - 1 day, short notice "After rebid in 2015, from 2016.01.01 NPCDB daministartor VsI "Numerio perkelimas" manages NPCDB solution NUMLEX developed and installed by Mediafon.|
|Luxembourg||2005.02.01||1||Managed by the G.I.E Telcom E.I.G. operator group and developed, installed and operated by Systor Trondheim AS.|
|Macedonia||2008.09.01||The reference database was developed, installed and is operated by Seavus Group.|
|Malta||2005.07.31||0||4 hours is a period necessary to port a number.|
|Moldova||2013.07.01||5-30||Free||Service handled by Mediafon. The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed, installed and supported by Mediafon, administrated by national NPCDB Administrator "NP Base".|||
|Norway||2001.04.01||5||NOK 0 - 200||Administrated by the National Reference Database (NRDB). The reference database was developed, installed and is operated by Systor Trondheim AS.|
|Poland||2006.02.??||Free||To be administrated by the National Central Database (PLI-CBD) run by Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). 30-day max porting time is to be reduced to 1 day.|
|Portugal||2002.01.01||5-10||Free||Operated by Portabil S.A. Solution implemented by Systor Trondheim AS of Norway.|
|Romania||2008.10.21||3||Free||Developed by UTI Systems based on the Porthus implementation|||
|Russia||2013.12.01||8||RUR 0-100||The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, administrated by national NPCDB Administrator. If the mobile operator does not have time to port a phone number at 7 days, all services are free for subscriber.|
|Slovakia||2004.05.01||4||Free||Portation request done in 5 days|
|Slovenia||2005.12.31||5||EUR 5||5 EUR is a maximum possible price|
|Spain||2000.10.??||2||Free||Central database managed through the AOPM (Asociación de Operadores para la Portabilidad Móvil).|
|Sweden||2001.09.01||5-6||Free||The largest operators formed independent company, SNPAC AB, to procure central database (CRDB) solution. Implementation of CRDB is carried out by Cap Gemini & Oracle.|
|Ukraine||TBA||TBA||TBA||The services should have been introduced on 1 January 2011 but because of lack of interest of operators to bid on the tender to select the administrator of the database on 1 July 2014 introduction was again postponed indefinitely.|
|United Kingdom||1999.01.??||1||Free||Users in the United Kingdom are required to use a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC)|||
Middle East and Africa
|Time to port
|Egypt||2008.04.??||up to 15 days, can be cancelled for any dues from previous operator||Free, was charging 75 EGP before||NPC serves the centralized administrative and provisioning role of MNP. Number Portability Clearhouse is handled by Telcordia Technologies, where Giza Systems is the system integrator. Cannot revert to existing operator before 1 year of service to new operator. Porting to another operator, line should be at least 1 year old.|
|Ghana||2011.07.07||typically 5-10 min., max 24 hours||Free||Central system operated by Porting Access Ghana, under authorisation from National Communications Authority|
|Israel||2007.12.03||up-to 30 minutes||Free||Service includes landline as well as mobile numbers|||
|Kuwait||2013.06.15||1||Free||The Ministry of Telecommunications has launched the service on 2013-06-15. The project manager is the National Technology Enterprises Company www.ntec.com.kw|
|Nigeria||2013.04.22||2||Free||NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) has adopted a phased approach to the launch of Mobile Number Portability service in Nigeria. The process to port to CDMA networks will begin as soon as the GSM porting process is completed and launched. Mobile Number Portability will initially be available among the GSM mobile operators: MTN, GLOBACOM, ETISALAT, and AIRTEL. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies|||
|Oman||2006.08.26||Implemented as a decentralized solution by Porthus for Nawras, and by Gulf Business Machines/Telcordia for Oman Mobile.|
|Saudi Arabia||2006.07.08||Free||Managed by the Centralized Clearinghouse Approach, through the NPC (Number Portability Clearinghouse), a product of Telcordia Technologies. The implementer and system integrator is Giza Arabia.|
|Bahrain||2011.07.08||Free||Managed by the Systor Cntral System.|
|South Africa||2006.11.10||The three operators, Vodacom SA, MTN SA, and Cell C, formed an independent company for the implementation and management of the central solution. After delays, the implementation of this solution was awarded to local company Saab Grintek teamed up with Telcordia Technologies.|
|Tunisian Republic||The ongoing NPCDB implementation, the NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, to be administrated by national NPCDB Administrator.|
|Turkey||2008.11.09||6||Free||AVEA and Vodafone hired Gantek to implement central database (CRDB) solution and donated it to Turkish Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies|
|Senegal||2015.09.01||MNP goes nearly online, max -24 hours||Free||The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, administrated by Mediafon and Comet Afrique Telecoms . Only MNP.|
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