Mobile Number Portability – A Forgotten Venture


Mobile Number Portability was introduced in Pakistan on March 23rd, 2007. It’s been almost 15 months, and the fact is that I had just forgotten its existence in our country. Needless to say that I never thought of switching over to another network, despite my carrier overcharges me almost every month.

I don’t want to re-cover the whole story of MNP’s implementation here, those who are interested in knowing more about how it happened please view this detailed post by Babar Bhatti at Pakistaniat.Com.

However, I was able to recollect my memories, thanks to this advertisement (Published in all major Newspapers on June 16, 2008) that reminds (or claims) that MNP is still there and it is working. There is no need to say that cellular companies do remember their billions of investments they made to make their networks MNP compatible.

What I want to discuss here is that if the MNP has totally failed? Should we just forget it? Or subscribers should still keep this option with them for future, maybe after 2/3 years to better select their cellular company without changing their current cell numbers.

Obviously, none of the operator was willing to implement MNP, that’s obvious; as porting out operator is the one who initiates the process (documentation etc). Hence, for instance, Warid Telecom will not heartedly welcome any of its subscribers to move away. While eying the trends and history, we should not expect any co-operation from operators in this regards. I have heard many stories, from friends and others, who just wanted to taste MNP; but gave up due to the process that involves repetitive problems caused by porting out operator (their current operator)

Another element that restricts or does not encourage subscribers to switch their network is the growing competition amongst the cellular companies; who are made to revise or introduce new packages at least once month if not twice. We have so many examples for this; let’s look at this Mobilink’s Jazz One Package which was defeated by Telenor’s A One in only 24 hours. So, customers don’t really opt for MNP when it comes to pricing; or even if the pricing is not that favorable to them, they consider waiting for a week or couple to get a better deal.

Frankly, I don’t see any good point to utilize MNP’s offer; stats actually back me, as I remember Maj. Gen. (R) Shahzada Alam Malik, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, once stated that he expects around 1.5 to 2 percent of cellular subscribers to use MNP. However, I don’t see any such thing happening till now.

Well, in my opinion, MNP was just an addition to portfolio of Pakistan Telecom Sector that we may (or may not) use in coming 3/4 years.

For those who think that this is the time to switch to another network; find below the procedure for getting benefited of Mobile Number Portability.

  1. Certain requirements need to be met before MNP can be requested for a phone account; such as: proof of ownership, no conflict due to existing agreement, number should have been in service for at least 60 days etc.
  2. Fill out a form and present it to the provider to which you wish to port – called Recipient Network.
  3. Pay the porting fee (varies by company, up to a few hundred rupees).
  4. A Number Portability Request (NPR) is launched by the Recipient Network and you are given a SIM and a tentative time (at least 4 days – but could be up to 21 days) to when you can start to use new mobile provider network on this SIM.

Those who want more ins and outs of this process may find this document quite helpful to them.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK