The increasing number of cellular service ads are focused toward keeping all customers (postpay and prepay) on the same network, prior to the implementation of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) feature on all cellular networks.
MNP is a service through which a subscriber can switch to another cellular network, while retaining the same number (prefix inclusive). So when you have a number like 03002345678 currently, you can move this exact number to say Ufone, Warid etc, without the hassle of informing all contacts about a network or number change.
Ultimately, it is the subscriber who will benefit. My belief is that eventually, like has been the case in certain other countries, subscribers of a particular network will be given various benefits to switch to their network, which may have suitably formulated pricing mechanism to give the subscriber an edge, should s/he make the switch.
The flipside is there would be a porting charge involved, which the subscriber would be required to pay to the donor service provider (the original number issuer). As you may well understand here, a subscriber would of course have to initially subscribe to a particular network to get an identity.
So, to increase market share, a service provider may approach prospects and offer beneficial deals to them, which may include paying the porting fee to the donor network and provide a suitable tariff and also need to provide a better network coverage, to ensure the customer remains satisfied.
So which network are you opting for? The prepaid tariffs offered by various networks are quite enticing. However, I find that Ufone seriously offers a better tariff structure.
Remember, the MNP takes effect on 23 March 2007 (finally). Mobilink – the whole country’s favourite cellular service network (self-proclaimed actually) – doesn’t intend to join in as yet. Ufone, Telenor and Warid have agreed, and would be providing porting at an agreed rate of Rs 500 per switch for any number.