MNP, Finally!

After seemingly endless delays, mobile number portability (MNP) finally arrived in India Thursday, albeit in just one state, Haryana. (See MNP Boards India's Delay Train Again and MNP Delayed Again.)

The service will be made available in other areas in the coming months, with national availability by March 2011.

The fee for switching a mobile number from one network service provider to another is just 19 Indian rupees (US$0.41), a price that is likely to encourage use of the service. The switch should take no longer than seven days. However, subscribers must stay with their new service provider for a minimum of three months once they move to a new operator.

Analysts believe MNP is unlikely to lead to major churn in the coming months. However, operators that didn't secure 3G spectrum in the recent auction might find themselves at a disadvantage if customers are tempted to switch to those offering new data services. (See Will Churn Burn India's Mobile Operators?)

Currently, 11 operators offer 2G services in Haryana, where Idea Cellular Ltd. , Tata Teleservices Ltd. , and Vodafone India hold 3G licenses. Currently, only Tata Docomo (the GSM operation of Tata Teleservices) has launched 3G services in the state. (See Tata Docomo Unveils 3G Packages and India's Tata Ready for 3G Launch.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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