All of us know that Mobile Number Portability, which permits one to change the mobile operator while keeping one’s number, is allowed in India. But how many of us have actually done it? Fed up with the poor service of my operator, I recently decided to give number porting a try. It turned out to be a breeze. Now I am recommending it to everyone.
Here’s how you do it:
Step 1 is to pay your outstanding bill in full to the existing operator.
Step 2, you have to send an SMS to the number 1900. The SMS should read like this: <<PORT <insert your 10 digit number > >> Within seconds, you will receive a porting code from the existing operator. The 1900 number seems to be common to all operators. But one could always verify that.
Step 3, you shop for a new operator. Decide based on whichever operator offers the best combination of coverage, discounts, and quality service. Visit its office, or have the operator despatch its service person to your place. You will have to fill up a form, provide a photograph, show some ID proofs, and share the porting code. The new operator will give you a SIM and share a number for ID verification.
Step 4, the existing operator’s representative will call you to verify why you want to leave it. Be firm. Don’t give in to its (predictable) offer of a deep discount and free data packs to retain you! If its service was bad till then, it’s not going to improve overnight. Shortly after this call you will get an SMS from your existing operator informing that your request to port has been approved. This is an important step, and approval could get tripped up if you have billing issues. So Step 1 has to be done right. After a few days, you will start getting SMS’ from your new operator, both in your existing number, as well as a backup number you would have shared with it.
Step 5 is D-day when your existing SIM goes dead. This happens after midnight. Shortly thereafter, you will get a welcome message from the new operator in your backup number. The moment your old SIM goes dead, you could take it out and discard it. Now insert the SIM provided by the new operator and call the number given by it to verify yourself. Once done, your number will be ported and you will be able to make and receive calls.
There’s one more thing to do before closure. A Step 6, in which the previous operator will present you with a new bill on the next bill date. This covers the period between the last bill generation and the date of porting, and will be calculated pro rata. If you were receiving physical bills, this one would be couriered to you. Otherwise, you would receive a soft copy by email. Walk into a customer service centre and pay it. Alternately, you could pay it online. Most operators have a section in their websites for paying bills of inactive numbers. Make use of it.
I found the entire experience so much satisfying than the status quo of letting things drift, ignoring poor service. Not only do you get to keep your number, but you will also find yourself being wooed by a bouquet of attractive offers from your existing as well as other operators. Some of these offers are so generous that they make you sit up and take notice of the poor plan you were locked into. So stirring things up makes you relevant. Otherwise, your operator tends to take you for granted.
The whole process would take less than 10 days and your number is usable throughout, except for a gap of a few night hours one day.
Editor’s Note: Used with permission from the Facebook post of Bangalore-based IT professional from Kerala. Btw, have you tried porting your mobile number and what was your experience? Share it as a comment below. Thank you 🙂