Mobile number portability .. The whats and howtos.

MNP rolled out in INDIA on 2oth January 2011. Lets see how it is done and some other tit bits regarding it.

The Process…

1. Send the following SMS to 1900 – PORT <Your Mobile Number> – eg. PORT 9123456789

2. You will get an SMS with your unique porting code. This is a unique number that will be maintained along with your mobile number with a third party called  MNP Service Provider (Selected companies for this service in India- Syniverse Technologies and Telcordia). The unique code has a expiry time. You need to apply to the new preferred operator with that code within the stipulated time.

3. The new operator will communicate with existing operator and ask for permission. If approved the new operator will set a time for porting and communicate this to MNP provider and existing operator.

4. On the set date and time, the current operator will disconnect the number and pass the message to MNP provider.

5. The new operator will now claim that number and MNP would maintain a central database with the new details.

How it works (the technical side)

The idea behind mobile number portability is based on call routing.Network operator makes copies of CDB[central database of ported numbers] and queries it to find out which network to send a call to.This is also known as All Call Query (ACQ) and is highly efficient and scalable.

Basic glossary and terms used in MNP:
Ported out – If a subscriber moves to new service provider, for the old service provider, he is a “ported out” subscriber.

Ported in – If a subscriber moves to new service provider, for the new service provider, he is a “ported in” subscriber.
Donor – The service provider left by the subscriber is termed as “donor”

Recipient – The service provider joined by the subscriber is termed as “recipient”

CDB – Central Database

ACQ – All Call Query

Concept and Implementation:

In terms of concept, the MNP functionality is used only in MT(mobile terminated)transactions of voice and messaging. For MO(mobile originated) transactions, the current flow scenario remains unchanged Only for the MT functionalities, the mobile number has to be identified and the corresponding service provider has to be interrogated for optimal routing of the service.

Case 1 – With less number of operators , each one setting up its own database

Each provider will have a dedicated setup and comprehensive database of ported out and ported in subscribers. As the number of service providers increases, the bilateral approach becomes a great burden to all service providers involved in terms of time, cost and resources. FNR (Flexible Number Register) will help the service providers have the ported database in addition to the original HLR database.

Case 2 – with more number of operators and a central database.

In direct routing, the concept of CDB comes into picture. This central database or Central clearing house will handle all activities related to porting of subscribers between service providers. This model is suited for markets with several service providers and this model is currently used almost in all MNP implementations. Two options are available with this model with all the service providers updating the ported number database in  synchronization with the CDB and the other is to query the CDB for all call interrogation to get proper routing procedure. After obtaining the rules, rest of the call is handled normally.

This type of model is followed for MNP in INDIA.

The master database will be managed by a third party firm. For zone I, Syniverse has been appointed with the MNP and related issues while for zone II, it is Telcordia.


1. What is the cost of switching an operator through MNP?
The max. charge can be Rs.19. This has to be paid to the new operator. The operator can choose to charge you lesser.

2. Can i change operator multiple times using MNP?
Yes. Though there is a limitation of how frequently you can change the operator. Once switched you cannot change the operator for the next 90 days.

3. Will my mobile number be disconnected during porting?
Yes. During disconnection from old and connecting to new operator you number will be dead for about 2 hours. Fortunately, this will happen only between 10PM to 5AM.

4. How much time will the whole process take?
According to rules set by TRAI, it shouldn’t take more than 4 days for the complete process from the time of applying to new operator.

5. Can i carry forward my prepaid balance to the new operator after MNP?

6. Can a postpaid user apply for MNP?
Yes. The old operator will approve only after all dues are cleared.

7. Can i switch circle through MNP?
No. The inter-circle portability has not been implemented yet.

8. Can i switch from prepaid to postpaid or vice-versa with MNP?
Yes. You can do that even without MNP.

9. Do i need to have a new SIM from new operator?
Yes. You will need to change your SIM. Apart from number retention everything is same as getting a new connection.

10. Can i Switch from CDMA to GSM thorugh MNP?

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Mohit Kumar

A simple person who likes to share his thoughts on this blog. Know more about me

4 thoughts on “Mobile number portability .. The whats and howtos.”

  1. I’ve downloaded over 200 songs just by spending Rs. 5 over the last 2 days! Uninor’s unlimited music plan rocks! I was completely lost about how to use MNP, but i’ve got the answer now! Thanks to Uninor again!

  2. Case 2 – with more number of operators and a central database.:

    1)For originating a call ,the originating MSC will be sending a query to CDB (to know about the B no)
    2)CDB in return gives away the LRN ie location routing no of the B no.
    3)After getting the LRN ,the O-MSC will have normal routing procedure with the addition of LRN in their routing.

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