Number portability allows consumers to switch phone providers and still keep their phone number. It started with local number portability and even that took a long time in many developed countries and it was not a very smooth experience for the consumers as they tried to switch companies.

Mobile number portability (MNP) is the big thing now which is changing 
the nature of the competition for mobile industry.

In U.S. only a couple of years ago the mobile phone companies started providing portability of mobile numbers. It takes significant resources to set up the rules and systems to take care of local or mobile number portability. Usually the regulatory agencies mandate number portability by a certain date and the phone companies try to extend these dates. Till now Japan did not have MNP. But this week mobile phone carries in Japan are engaging in fierce competition to take advanatage of the start of the mobile number portability.

Below is an interesting survey result from ACNielsen.
It shows that price is the main factor for switching service.


Pakistan is also about to experience MNP. PTA has been studying MNP and supposedly has asked the providers to provide MNP by 2007. There is a study / paper on PTA website which gives details of their program. The interesting thing about Pakistan is that the area codes of the mobile phones are separate by the provider i.e. 0321 is Warid, 0300 is Mobilink. But how will it work after MNP?

The mobile companies have formed a MNP Consortium which will work through the details of MNP under PTA guidance. For sure MNP will change the market share. Recently Pakistan passed the 40 Million subsriber line. The growth may continue but mobile service providers will have to work hard to retain their customers!