The lack of number portability between wireless carriers has kept many consumers in India from changing cell phone service providers. Now that the infrastructure is finally in place, MNP will be available to all wireless customers by the end of January 2011.
The process for porting (moving) a phone number in India has been made as simple as possible. The customer simply has to send a text message (SMS) that says PORT from their phone to 1900. The existing provider will send the customer a unique porting code, which the customer will share with their new carrier.
The new carrier uses the porting code to check and make sure the customer’s old account is paid in full. Once that information has been verified, the new provider will send the customer a text message informing the customer exactly when the porting will take place.The maximum time for porting is 7 working days except in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North East service areas, where it is 15 working days. The phone will not be usable for about two hours during the actual porting process. Once the porting is complete, the new provider will send a text message confirming the switch.
The new provider may request that the customer pay a small charge (no more than R19) for porting the old number, but many wireless carriers are not charging fees in hopes of gaining as many new customers as possible. If the customer is not happy with the new service provider, he can switch again after 90 days.