Was Number Portability really worth the hype?


From the past several days on TV: Idea’s ads on Number Portability coming soon in India…

Yesterday’s Times of India:

Page 1 and Page 2 – Full page buy outs by Vodafone India.
Page 3 (The actual Page 1) – Airtels banner running across the top of the page.

Other pages: Random Vodafone adverts.

4:00PM – My Phone (Bangalore Number): Airtel sends out a text thanking me for being one of the most valuable customers etc. etc… and sticking to Airtel for long. – Thanks for the message, I would have stuck to this even without the text, but would definitely prefer some freebies as a Loyalty Program ;). (Surprisingly Voda n DoCoMo did not!)

Not really surprised to see Indian Telco’s biggies spending so much to send out messages on Mobile Number Portability a.k.a MNP coming into practice in India. For the biggies its now a question of retaining the customers they may be losing and for the mid sized ones, its about gaining them. The smaller and budget crunched players I believe are left nowhere! My take, with such an oligopolistic market, was it really necessary for MNP to come to India? To improve customer service Yes.

For some time, I was consulting with a Wireless Major in UK on Mobile Number Porting as well, in their Operations arm and well, if I get to analyze the market now, the movements are only due to the customer service offered. Today’s Mint, quotes that though there is a Buzz on the MNP coming in, not much impact has been observed on the consumer front. But well this seems to be a major stuff towards the differentiation that one can observe in the offerings from now on.

Why the MNP launch created such a buzz: The Five Year Delay. Unprepared operators and regulatory clearances! So would the same technology have created a better customer response five years back? May be yes. I do not really remember if the customer services were better off those days. Even today, in the state of my current residence, I somehow feel the customer services are miles apart from my home state of Karnataka! (Are you hearing???) Just hope that things improve and I do not have to switch to a different operator!

As an Integrated Marketing Communications enthusiast, I am enjoying the flow of adverts on MNP and of course the microblogging and twitteratti – the two new channels that the telcos seem to have hit to promote the MNP! Trust me folks, improve your customer service and provide better offerings, MNP may just remain the hype it is now! (Its big money too, wont explain the hows and whys in the blog 🙂 – Not catering to Consumer Behavior in this one)

Lastly, I would like to know the impact the system has had on BSNL. Have not called home, otherwise dad would have said nothing can affect India’s most robust carrier… Hmm…………… Well, might have to agree, of the four networks, we subscribe to in our house, two have never given any trouble till now, BSNL being one of them!

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About amarharish
Was working as a Consultant for Five Years. Moved on to pursue a Masters in Management at Great Lakes, Chennai. Interests include Hi Tech, Brands, Quizzing, Leadership to name a few!

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