Number portability has no impact on crowded mobile phone networks in Himachal

Shimla: Cluttered networks, dropping calls, tariff differentials have not had much of an impact on subscriber base of mobile phone Company’s in Himachal as most operators say that mobile number portability (MNP) has not made any significant dent or additions in existing connections.

“The tele density here is so high that there has hardly been any impact from MNP in this hill state, says DK Gupta, head of Tata DoCoMo circle in Himachal. He claimed that just about 1 % subscribers to their network had opted for MNP in the circle.

The government company BSNL, which is one of the larger players in the circle claimed that a net of 500 connections had been lost since MNP was permitted about 100 days ago.

General manager mobile at BSNL AK Pandey said that so far about 3500 new subscribers had ported in after MNP and about 4000 had ported out.

On a subscriber base of over 16.15 lakh mobile users with our network, in percentage terms the loss is negligible, he said. Executives at Reliance and STel also claimed that MNP had not impacted them much.

However subscribers differed with the networks claims.

“It was with great difficulty that I managed to shift my mobile number to another network under MNP,” said Balbir Chauhan.

He said that a lot of allurements like extra free talk time, change to a lower tariff plan were offered by the host network but I felt cheated as a very high tariff were being charged.

Another subscriber Narinder Sharma said that as soon as he applied for MNP, the host network has offered him a better plan. “Though the lines are cluttered at peak hours and call still do drop suddenly but after the network offered a lower tariff plan, for the time being I have decided to give it a try, he said.

Against a population of 68.56 lakhs as recorded in the provisional 2011 census, there are over 72 lakh mobile connections according to TRAI figures that are spread over 12 networks operating in Himachal, which includes Airtel (launched operations in 1996), Reliance GSM (1997), Reliance CDMA (2004), BSNL (1998), Tata Indicom (2005), Idea (2006), Aircel (2006), Vodaphone (2008), STel (2009), Tata DoCoMo (2010), Videocon (2010) and a new Tata venture under brand name Virgin Mobile (2011).

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