Operators welcome MNP launch, say move will liberate users

Operators welcome MNP launch, say move will liberate users

"As a Tata Group company, we have always felt that the power of choice should be left to the customers. MNP will be a great leveller, because it will liberate telecom users and give them the power of choice," TTSL Mobility Business Division Executive President Deepak Gulati told PTI.

The nationwide roll-out of mobile number portability (MNP) was flagged off by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"We have been strong advocates of MNP for years and we welcome the new regime that begins today. This is the beginning of an era, which will give new direction to the Indian telecom industry," Gulati added.

MNP services were first launched in Haryana in November last year.
Companies like Idea Cellular and Vodafone had started marketing their services even before the nationwide roll-out of MNP to woo subscribers from other networks that were already looking at switching operators.

"It's the day of freedom in the mobile industry today. This is free and fair competition and we welcome it," Gulati said.

With the roll-out of MNP, subscribers will look at changing operators if they are not satisfied with the network coverage or customer care services, say players.

"No other country has introduced MNP as quickly when there was this level of complexity, with ten to twelve players operating in twenty-two telecom circles, two mobile number portability operators (MNPO), several international long-distance (ILD) and national long-distance (NLD) carriers and over 700 million subscribers," said COAI Director-General Rajan S Mathews.

Customers will have to pay a maximum of Rs 19 to an operator to change their network and the new operator has the option to either waive the fee or reduce it. However, a consumer would be required to continue with an operator for a minimum period of three months in order to avail the MNP service.

"Consumers are looking for a pan-India network offering seamless connectivity, affordable and relevant products, accessible and humane customer care, accurate billing systems, voice clarity and no call drops," Idea Cellular Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajat Mukarji said.

He added that these were also key parameters for consumer satisfaction and will ultimately be the deciding factors for exercising choice, following MNP roll-out on a nationwide basis.

Operators are confident of gaining customers on the back of their network quality and customer care.

"We expect a gain from MNP and are confident of building on our current subscriber base of over 81 million across the country," Mukarji said.

Uninor Corporate Affairs EVP Rajiv Bawa agreed. "We are ready and eager. In Dynamic Pricing, we have a product that stands apart from anything else out there in the market," he said.

"Post-MNP, mobile tariffs will go down further, especially if we look at the post-paid customer base, whereas in the pre-paid segment, I doubt a significant change in their tariffs or profitability," said Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd President and CEO Vsevolod Rozanov. SSTL offers services under the MTS brand name.

"Over the next few days, we are launching a slew of innovative offerings for migrating GSM and CDMA mobile customers across India," Rozanov said.

Mahesh Prasad, the President (Marketing - Wireless Business) of Reliance Communications, which offers both GSM and CDMA services like TTSL, said, "There could be plethora of factors that necessitate a customer to switch over to a better operator. It gives tremendous opportunities to RCOM to get new customers."

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