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What is Number Portability?

Number Portability allows consumers and businesses to keep their existing telephone numbers when they switch operators. It, literally, means that numbers are portable from operator to operator - whether that operator is a mobile, wire line, or VoIP service provider.

Number Portability benefits everyone. It gives subscribers the freedom to choose operators based on criteria like services, price, and customer service. Their freedom of movement is not influenced by the inconveniences and costs that come with changing numbers.

It also makes it easier for operators to compete for customers, precisely because it eliminates a major barrier to churn - that is, reluctance to change numbers. Although this increased risk of churn is a concern among some operators, number portability has been a huge success around the world, because it helps to level the playing field, giving all operators more opportunities to grow their subscriber bases and revenues.

Porting Procedure:

Porting Procedure for Subscriber
  • Contact the new mobile Service Provider to whom you want to port your mobile number.
  • Read the eligibility and other conditions carefully. Please visit for further details.
  • Obtain Customer acquisition From (CAF) & Porting Form.
  • If eligible, Obtain ‘Unique Porting Code‘ by sending an SMS from the mobile number you want to port to the number ‘1900’ with text ‘PORT’  followed by space followed by your 10 digit mobile number you want to port.
  • Fill up the CAF and Porting Form.
  • Submit the duly filled Porting Form and CAF along with requisite documentary proof of the mobile service provider.
  • If you are a post paid subscriber, submit a paid copy of the last bill issued along with the Porting Form and CAF.
  • Obtain new SIM card from the new service provider.
Subscriber can withdraw the porting request within 24 hrs of applying.

Activation of Ported Number

  • Subscriber new mobile service provider will intimate you the date & time of porting on your mobile phone.
  • Replace the old SIM with the new SIM provided by your new mobile service provider after the specified date and time.

Eligibility and other Conditions for Porting a Mobile Number

  • Subscriber is allowed to move to another mobile service provider only after 90 days of the date of the activation of that mobile connection or from the date of porting of the mobile number, whichever is applicable.
  • Subscriber is allowed to change mobile service provider within the same service area only.
  • If you are a Post-paid subscribers, please ensure that you have paid all the dues as per your last bill (subscriber will have to sign an undertaking in the Porting Form also).
  • If you are Pre-paid subscriber, please note that the balance amount of talk time, if any, at the time of porting will lapse.
For detailed regulation please visit TRAI website 

History of Mobile Number Portability:

Though it was introduced as a tool to promote competition in the heavily monopolized wireline telecommunications industry, number portability became popular with the advent of mobile telephones, since in most countries different mobile operators are provided with different area codes and, without portability, changing one's operator would require changing one's number. Some operators, especially incumbent operators with large existing subscriber bases, have argued against portability on the grounds that providing this service incurs considerable overhead, while others argue that it prevents vendor lock-in and allows them to compete fairly on price and service. Due to this conflict of interest, number portability is usually mandated for all operators by telecommunications regulatory authorities. Singapore mobile subscribers were one of the first in the world to enjoy mobile number portability through this Call-Forwarding solution when it was launched there in 1997. Hong Kong, the UK, and Holland followed in 1999 and now over 54 countries around the world have implemented mobile number portability. 

MNP is implemented in different ways across the globe. The international and European standard is for a customer wishing to port his/her number to contact the new provider (Recipient) who will then arrange necessary process with the old provider (Donor). This is also known as 'Recipient-Led' porting. UK did not implement a Recipient-Led system, where a customer wishing to port his/her number is required to contact the Donor to obtain a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) which he/she then has to give to the Recipient. Once having received the PAC the Recipient continues the port process by contacting the Donor. This form of porting is also known as 'Donor-Led' and has been criticised by some industry analysts as being inefficient. It has also been observed that it may act as a customer deterrent as well as allowing the Donor an opportunity of 'winning-back' the customer. This might lead to distortion of competition, especially in the markets with new entrants that are yet to achieve scalability of operation.

In India, MNP is launched recently which is Donor Led. Only the terminology is changed from PAC to UPC (Unique Porting Code).

Technical details

A significant technical aspect of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) is related to the routing of calls or mobile messages (SMS, MMS) to a number once it has been ported. There are various flavours of call routing implementation across the globe but the international and European best practice is via the use of a central database (CDB) of ported numbers. Network operator makes copies of CDB 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. Majority of the established and upcoming MNP systems across the world are based on this ACQ/CDB method of call routing. One of the very few countries to not use ACQ/CDB is the UK where calls to a number once it has been ported are still routed via the Donor network. This is also known as 'Indirect Routing' and is highly inefficient as it is wasteful of transmission and switching capacity. Because of its Donor dependent nature, Indirect Routing also means that if the Donor network develops a fault or goes out of business, the customers who have ported out of that network will lose incoming calls to their numbers. The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom completed its extended review of the UK MNP process on 29 November 2007 and mandated that ACQ/CDB be implemented for mobile to mobile ported calls by no later than 1 September 2009.

Prior to March 2008 it took a minimum of 5 working days to port a number in the UK compared to 2 hours only in USA, as low as 20 minutes in the Republic of Ireland, 3 minutes in Australia and even a matter of seconds in New Zealand. On 17 July 2007, Ofcom released its conclusions from the review of UK MNP and mandated reduction of porting time to 2 working days with effect from 1 April 2008. On 29 November 2007, Ofcom completed its consultation on further reduction to porting time to 2 hours along with recipient led porting and mandated that near-instant (no more than 2 hours) recipient led porting be implemented by no later than 1 September 2009.

In a decentralized model of MNP, a FNR (Flexible Number Register) may be used to manage a database of ported out/ported in numbers for call routing

In India as MNP is recently launched, number porting process takes 7 days as of now. Customers are facing problems in getting portability to work as envisaged. The donor network is wary of letting customers go and find improper number of reasons to reject portability requests. The customer keeps getting calls asking them not to switch and even after refusing some of the tempting offers made, the portability does not get done timely.

Number Lookup Services:

Service providers and carriers who route messages and voice calls to MNP-enabled countries might use HLR query services to find out the correct network of a mobile phone number. A number of such services exist, which query the operator's home location register (HLR) over the SS7 signalling network in order to determine the current network of a specified mobile phone number prior to attempted routing of messaging or voice traffic.

Mobile number portability by country:


Country↓ Implementation date ↓
Time to port
days ↓
Price↓ Short notes
Brazil 2008.09.01 3 BRL 4 The plan started in March 2007
Canada 2007.03.14 0 free MNP procedure takes 10-20 minutes.
Dominican Republic 2009.09.30 3–10 free

Ecuador 2009.10.12 4 free ASCP handled by Systor, Telconet and JR Electric Supply
Mexico 2008.07.05

Service handled by Telcordia Technologies and Neoris
Peru 2010.01.01 7-9 free The user will assume the cost of the new sim card of the new mobile company that will cost around 15 PEN
USA 2003.11.24 0 free MNP procedure takes 2.5 hours.


Asia Pacific:

Country↓ Implementation date ↓
Time to port
days ↓
Price↓ Short notes
Australia 2001.09.25 1 Free Previously prefixes
04x1, 04x2, 04x3 referred to Optus
04x4, 04x5 and 04x6 referred to Vodafone
043x, referred to Vodafone Hutchison Australia formally known as Hutchison 3G Australia.
04x7, 04x8, 04x9 and 0410x referred to Telstra

Hong Kong 1999.03.01 2 Free Service handled by Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA). In the network, you may be charged unexpectedly for a call to a mobile that has been ported form a different network.
India 2011.01.20 7 INR 19 Customers can port between prepay and post pay options. The Talk time and other validity will be terminated during porting. 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.
Malaysia 2008.10.15 1 Free 1 day is a minimum time necessary for porting
Pakistan 2007.03.23 4
Customers can port between prepay and post pay options. On port-In, the Donor company provides, free balance and on-net free minutes. Service handled by Pakistan MNP Database (Guarantee) Limited
Singapore 2008.06.13

Customers are not able to port between prepay and post pay options. Vendor for database installation is Syniverse Technologies
Taiwan 2005.10.05

Thailand 2010.12.15 3 THB 99 Number Portability Clearinghouse service is handled by Telcordia Technologies. 3 days can be just working days.


Country↓ Implementation date ↓
Time to port
days ↓
Price↓ Short notes
Albania 2011.01.01 3 Free Agreement signed on 22-Dec-2010 between AKEP (Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications) and the service handling company "INFOSOFT SYSTEMS sh.a." in partnership with UTI Romania. Service implemented starting with May, 2011.
Austria 2004.10.16 3 EUR 19

Czech Republic 2006.01.15

Belgium 2002.10.01 2 Free The central solution CRDC has been re-implemented several times. First time it was implemented by Telcordia Technologies US, second time by Cap Gemini Sweden and Belgium, third time by Porthus Belgium. Access to DB: setup fee : €11 000, annual fee: € 3000.
Bulgaria 2008.04.11
EUR 2.56

Croatia 2006.10.01 5
5 days is maximum possible period necessary for porting a number. Service handled by HAKOM.
Cyprus 2004.07.?? 14

Denmark 2001.07.?? 30-60 DKK 0-29 The central solutions is called OCH - Operators Clearing House
Estonia 2005.01.01 7

Finland 2003.07.25 5 Free Handled by the company Numpac
France 2003.06.30 10 Free Heavily improved since May 2007 with a 10-days maximum lead time (was taking 2 months in most cases before then)
Georgia 2011.02.15 TBA TBA

Germany 2002.11.01 4 working days + 2 further days EUR 25 The average price charged is about € 25. The exact amount depends on the old provider. A price limit of € 30.72 was set by the Bundesnetzagentur.
Greece 2003.09.??

Service handled by Telcordia Technologies
Hungary 2004.05.01 8 Free

Iceland 2004.10.01 10 Free 10 days is maximum possible period. Service handled by Telcordia Technologies
Ireland 2003.07.25 0 Free

Italy 2002.04.01 3

Latvia 2007.??.?? 10 Free

Lithuania 2004.01.01 28
Service handled by Telcordia Technologies
Luxembourg 2005.02.01 1
Managed by the G.I.E Telcom E.I.G. operator group and developed, installed and operated by Systor Trondheim AS.
Macedonia 2008.09.01

The reference database was developed, installed and is presently operated by Seavus Group.
Malta 2005.07.31 0
4 hours is a period necessary to port a number.
Netherlands 1997.08.01 3
Service handled by Onafhankelijke Post en Telecommunicatie Autoriteit aka. Opta
Norway 2001.04.01 14 NOK 0 - 200 Administrated by the National Reference Database (NRDB). The reference database was developed, installed and is presently operated by Systor Trondheim AS.
Poland 2006.02.??
Free To be administrated by the National Central Database (PLI-CBD) run by Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). 30-day max porting time is to be reduced to 1 day.
Portugal 2002.01.01 5-10
Operated by Portabil S.A. Solution implemented by Systor Trondheim AS of Norway.
Romania 2008.10.21 7-30 Free Developed by UTI Systems based on the Porthus implementation
Serbia 2011.07.01 2 working days 0 or 1 RSD Maximum possible period necessary for porting a number is 2 working days. MTS charge for this service 1 RSD, while it's free if you port your number to Telenor or Vip mobile.
Slovakia 2004.05.01

Slovenia 2005.12.31 5 EUR 5 5 EUR is a maximum possible price
Spain 2000.10.??

Sweden 2001.09.01 21 Free The largest operators formed independent company, SNPAC AB, to procure central database (CRDB) solution. Implementation of CRDB is carried out by Cap Gemini & Oracle.
Switzerland 2000.03.?? 5

Turkey 2008.11.09 6 Free AVEA and Vodafone hired Gantek to implement central database (CRDB) solution and donated it to Turkish Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies
United Kingdom 1999.01.01 1 working day Free Telecommunications service is regulated in the UK by Ofcom. On 25 July 2003, Ofcom introduced the General Conditions of Entitlement which apply to all communications networks and service providers in the UK.

Middle East and Africa:

Country↓ Implementation date ↓
Time to port
days ↓
Price↓ Short notes
Egypt 2008.04.05

NPC serves the centralized administrative and provisioning role of MNP. Number Portability Clearhouse is handled by Telcordia Technologies, where Giza Systems is the system integrator.
Ghana 2011.07.07 24 hours maximum 2.50 USD Porting Access bv of the Netherlands (commonly known as PortingXS) along with their local partner, CIS Ghana Limited are handling the central equipment for MNP in Ghana.
Israel 2007.12.03 3–4 hours Free Service includes landline as well as mobile numbers
Jordan 2010.06.01 1 7 JOD Service is not implemented, but is still planned. TRC started the process in 2005 and released the official bid to implement and operate MNP during September 2009.
Kuwait 2010.12.31

The Minister of Telecommunications has stated that the service should be available before the end of 2010. However a number of delays have been reported in the media.
Nigeria 2007.05.02

Oman 2006.08.26

Implemented as a decentralized solution by Porthus for Nawras, and by Gulf Business Machines/Telcordia for Oman Mobile.
Saudi Arabia 2006.07.08

Managed by the Centralized Clearinghouse Approach, through the NPC (Number Portability Clearinghouse), a product of Telcordia Technologies. The implementer and system integrator is Giza Arabia.
South Africa 2006.11.10 1-2 
The three operators, Vodacom SA, MTN SA, and Cell C, formed an independent company for the implementation and management of the central solution. After delays, the implementation of this solution was awarded to local company Saab Grintek teamed up with Telcordia Technologies.