Mobile number portability or MNP, as we all know is what that helps customers to switch operators without changing the existing number. The service presently available across the globe (minus India obviously) allows the customer to change the service provider, if he feels discontent over the existing or if somebody else is offering a better service, and also letting him free of the hassle of spreading the 'change of number news' amongst his contacts. Moreover, MNP could be done irrespective of whether it is a GSM network or a CDMA network. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have divided the servicing area into two zones and has given license to two companies to carry out the MNP operations: MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions (MNPITS) and Syniverse Technologies India.
Initially, MNP was scheduled to be implemented by Dec 31, 2009, in Major Metros, which failed to happen, after which there has been 3 more deadlines which failed and the latest one falls on October 31 2010. It is learned that MNPITS, one of the licencees, is showing a slippery nature to its commitments as it had send concerns over security issues to the Foriegn Investment Promotions Board (FIPB), which the later rejected instantly. More over, Telecordia TEchnologies, a US based company in joint venture with MNPITS, has pulled out of the venture recently, making the situation much worse for the later.
Even though a lot of drama is happening behind the scenes amongst the MNP service providers, BSNL has assured confidently that it is all set to start MNP services and meet the deadlines. What about the others? Is Airtel, Vodaphone, Reliance and the rest still sleeping? Or, is it an intentional hibernation?
What really happens when you call your service provider's customer care number, seeking a solution for a problem you have been facing with the service? First of all, you have to follow the prolonged voice over, follow the instructions and test your patience until you reach a stage when the voice over says 'to speak to a customer care executive press #'. And, this doesn't get over with that, what follows is the most irritating part of the call- 'the official service provider music', mixed with 'please wait while we transfer your call to a customer care executive', and the promotions of the 'most value less' value added services! After a long struggle and endurance, we are blessed with the opportunity to speak to an executive, followed by which, we have to narrate the entire history of our relationship with the service provider and then about the problem for which we called. Like a saint, the executive apologizes and rains the words of assurances to our ears, and registers the complaint. He/she will also give us a set of numbers, the so called reference number for the complaint raised. With all the assurances offered by the executive, we relax and believing that the problem would be sorted out soon, we go to sleep. What happens the next day? The same process is repeated for the same problem, and the same continues for many days depending on the complexity of the problem; each time you have to repeat the history of conversation (even though you are given a reference number) to the respective executive.
What more could a hired call center operator do with his limited capabilities and authority? When a problem could not be resolved through a call to the customer care number, what's the point in having such a 'care number' ? This entire lecture might sound like an outburst of an utterly dissatisfied customer, true, but not just one, the millions which the big brands boast of in their ads. Now, it is obvious that why MNP is snailing in the pipeline. Except for BSNL, even though they are losing customers day by day (might be because of the typical 'sarkari' attitude), no service provider in the country has come forward and said- 'Yes, we are ready'. This non-cooperative and lazy attitude towards MNP by the private operators is obviously not security reasons, a customer who expects the best for what he pays would would obviously say that 'they are scared of MNP'!
A message for service providers who salute with us for Independence day, hug us for valentines day, burst crackers with us for Diwali and bring Santa home for Christmas, through their spamming SMS and promo calls- This Sambarman and millions of your customers will not stop availing your services even when we have MNP, all you have to do is give us what we deserve for what we pay.
For those who doesn't know: MNPITS has former biggies from Airtel as their Program Management and Market Management Heads. Now, does that have something to do with the smoke we see above MNPITS skies? ;)