Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vodafone emerges biggest gainer of MNP,adds nearly 1.9 lakh users

Nearly a month after the nationwide rollout of mobile number portability services, Vodafone Essar has emerged as the biggest gainer, notching up 1.9 lakh new subscribers, whereas state-owned BSNL lost more customers than it attracted from other service providers. 

Since the launch of MNP services, nearly 20 lakh mobile subscribers have switched service providers using the facility. 

MNP allows users to change service providers while retaining their phone numbers. 

"A total of 19,79,600 numbers of subscribers have ported their numbers so far using the MNP facility," according to official figures provided in the Rajya Sabha by the Department of Telecom ( DoT )). 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had launched nationwide MNP services on January 20 this year. It has been a month since the service was started and as expected, older GSM operators like Vodafone Essar, Airtel and Idea Cellular continue to lure the bulk of subscribers to their networks. 

According to latest available figures, Vodafone Essar gained as many as 1.9 lakh customers, followed by Idea Cellular, with a net gain of 1.5 lakh subscribers. 

The figures denote the difference between the number of customers porting in and porting out. 

The country's largest operator, Bharti Airtel remained at number three with a net gain of about 1.48 lakh subscribers till date. 

However, most operators stick by the theory that MNP will not be a game-changer for the industry. 

CDMA operators are facing a huge exodus of subscribers, with RCOM, Tata Teleservices and BSNL losing subscribers to old and established GSM service providers. 

In the case of RCom (CDMA), as many as 1.34 lakh subscribers ported out, while 5,717 ported in. Similarly, TTSL (CDMA) lost over 1.04 subscribers while attracting only 8,298 subscribers to its fold. 

All that a customer needs to do for changing his telecom operator is pay a maximum of Rs 19. He/she will get a new service provider within seven working days as per the guidelines of the sectoral regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India . 

Among the new operators, Uninor and Sistema Shyam attracted more subscribers than they lost, but others were hit by the facility as they lost more subscribers, the data revealed. 

To combat this, these operators had lowered tariffs along with doling out freebies. Regional operators have also upped the ante, as they feared losing customers. 

MNP services were first launched in Haryana in November last year and according to industry estimates, less than one per cent of subscribers opted for changing their operators. 

Both pre-paid and post-paid consumers can use the MNP service. 

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