Mobile number portability to be implemented soon

It will be possible to change your phone company without having to change your phone number if the mobile number portability (MNP) service that the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is studying is implemented.

The MNP service enables subscribers to switch from one telecom service provider to another retaining their existing mobile number, irrespective of mobile technology, or from one technology to another, of the same or any other access service provider. The service is effective in markets which are highly competitive with high penetration rates.

“It offers flexibility to mobile users to change the service provider retaining the existing number,” said Kailash Neupane, spokesperson of the authority. “It helps users to change the service provider easily if they are not satisfied with its service.”

If the facility is introduced, MNP will benefit subscribers in terms of pricing and quality and innovation in services offered. It will allow Nepal Telecom mobile subscribers to switch to Ncell’s tariff and service plan, and Ncell subscribers to Nepal Telecom without having to change their phone numbers. According to the NTA, introduction of MNP gives a fair chance to service providers to compete by offering new products and better service at competitive prices by giving customers the option to select.

Neupane said that MNP had become a tradition in the international telecom industry, and the government was also planning to introduce it in Nepal.

The NTA has been looking at MNP and its possibility in Nepal’s telecom industry by forming a sub-committee under the leadership of NTA senior engineer Nirmal Pradhananga. Over 60 countries around the world have already adopted MNP including India. According to reports, MNP has worked well in South Korea and Hong Kong, while in some countries like Taiwan and Singapore, the service proved to be ineffective.

“We are ready for it,” said Sanju Koirala, corporate communication manager of Ncell. “MNP is a huge investment. Is Nepal ready for it?” If the service is implemented, telecom operators will generally collect the porting fees fixed by the NTA, comprising of administrative charges and other fees.

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