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Mobile Number Portability

Mobile Number Portability - Change your Mobile Phone Company, Not Your Number! (Part 1/2)
By Angus Leung
15th September , 2001

Have you always wanted to change to a better mobile phone company, but shivered at the thought of having to tell all your contacts about your change of number?  Well, the Federal Government of Australia has promised to solve this by promising that Mobile Number Portability, or MNP.  It is due to arrive on 25th September, 2001.  We examine how this affects the Australian mobile phone user...

What is MNP?


What does MNP stand for? Mobile Number Portability
When will MNP be available? The mandatory date set for MNP is 25 September 2001.
What is porting? Porting is the term used by the telecommunications industry to describe the process of moving a mobile number from one Carriage Service Provider to another Carriage Service Provider.
When will porting occur? Monday - Friday 8am - 8pm
Saturday 10am - 6pm
How long will the porting process take? A simple port is expected to take up to one day from the time the port request is initiated.

Mobile Number Portability simply means the ability to take your mobile number with you when you change mobile phone companies.

In other words a customer can move or port their mobile number from one mobile phone company to another mobile phone company on a different network and keep the same number.

What does MNP mean to the Australian mobile phone user?

For a start, once you change mobile phone companies you will not have to change numbers.  This eliminates the hassle of having to tell all your friends about your number change.  It also eliminates the chances of being issued a mobile number that used to belong to someone else and having to answer his / her annoying phone calls. 

MNP should also result in lower prices and improved mobile phone service, since it is intended to increase competition in the telecommunications market. 

However, a negative of MNP is that you can no longer tell which mobile phone company incoming calls are from just by looking at their numbers.  This could significantly increase the cost of calling others if you are a keen user of freetime services of service providers, where it is much cheaper to talk to people using the same service provider as you.  Soon we shall probably hear the first line of any caller being, "What mobile phone company do you use?".

Another issue is that many Australian users currently are still tied to long term mobile phone contracts with mobile phone companies.  This would mean that the increase in people changing mobile phone companies would not increase suddenly after 25th September this year.  Rather, the increase will be gradual as people come off their existing contracts.  This would also mean that prices will not come down quickly.  Also, in the run-in to the September deadline, expect to see mobile phone companies step up their efforts to secure long term contracts from potential customers.

*(To Read Part 2/2 click on "Next" button)

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