Monthly Archives: January 2011

Mobile number portability: A great idea sirji?

Mobile number portability

Mobile number portability

Okay, as of Thursday we will all have the means to switch mobile phone operators without having to lose our precious 10-digits.

But is this the real deal we as cell phone users really sought?

Before you pop a vein in outrage and accuse me of whining against a much-needed “progressive” law, consider that as an Indian mobile phone user you still can’t keep the same number living in another state in the country.

Consider that you still pay substantially high amounts to get new SIMs and are otherwise charged a lot more under “roaming” charges, when in fact you are still only roaming well within the confines of your own country.

We call ourselves united, a nation of one, and yet we are forced to pay to get new SIM connections just because we choose to move to live in another part of this good green nation.

I don’t want to offend any pro-Telangana, anti-Telangana or neutrals with this hypothetical example, but consider that if tomorrow they do decide to partition Andhra Pradesh into two or more numbers, and decide to call it two states, then bigger contentious issues aside, would I have to then pay roaming charges travelling from Visakhapatnam to say Hyderabad?

Idea Mobile Number Portability: ‘Lift’

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to flag off the nationwide rollout of number portability on Thursday. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal claims that this move would increase competition among providers, “enhance” choice among consumers and force telecom providers to “improve the quality of their services”.

I really wonder if portability would do all that. Because much of the mobile phone users I know are more than content with sticking with one mobile service operator.

How many people do you really know are eager to switch from A to V? They are virtually the same. The rates are almost the same. The service, barring minor differences, is the same and yet we are supposed to get excited about this paltry new reform set to be unveiled?

This just sounds like another pretentious move to keep the public content with moderately improved services.

And despite the comforting fact that V and A do allow me as a user to shut their ridiculous promotional offers on call and messages within a month or two of me harassing their staff and raising a “Do Not Disturb” complaint at their office, I still get weird automated calls from husky sounding women singing vernacular songs that gloat up some random company or offer.

Yes, I’m a mobile phone user and I’m still deeply disturbed by the service I receive. Now here’s an Idea, sirji: How about we get mobile numbers and SIMs that follow us wherever we choose to move to within India? How about a real ban on unsolicited texts and calls from all those companies whose products I don’t need?

Ashwin Sriram

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