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New Delhi, Nov 20 (Deccan Herald):change mobile number Tired of your existing cell phone service provider? Just dump it by paying Rs 19 and go for a new service provider without changing your number under the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) scheme.

The MNP, which allows cell phone holders to change their service provider without changing the number is coming into effect from December 31.

Telecom watch dog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday fixed the reference rate for portability fee at Rs 19. “The per port transaction charge will be Rs 19 and the subscriber will not be charged more than that. However, operators are free to levy any amount less than or equal to this charge”, TRAI said in a statement. 

Accordingly, the MNP service is likely to be available in metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and circle A service areas like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the first phase (December 31) and in the second phase it will be available in other parts of the country by March 20.

The government expects that the MNP would ultimately benefit the customers as it would trigger severe competition with the companies possibly announcing sops, including lowering call and SMS rates, to retain their subscribers.

The government also hopes the companies may improve their services.
As per the guidelines to MNP, the TRAI says customers who wish to change the service provider have to give a written undertaking to their existing service provider that he/she is switching to a new operator.

Within five days of this, there should be mandatory subscriber identity verification. After completing this process, it would be forwarded within two days to the MNP service provider who in turn allows the change of the service provider.  The regulator has clarified that the portability facility will be available only within a given licensed service area.

The operators must telephonically inform the customer of the exact date and time the porting will happen. Post-paid customers have to clear all outstanding payments before they can change their operator, said the guidelines.

The regulator has said that the new operator that takes on the ported customers is not bound to repay any deposits made by the customer to his original service provider.

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