MNP opens doors to ‘sniping’ mobile subscribers

15:43 | 26/06/2018
Mobile number portability (MNP) will create a new battlefield for domestic mobile operators from as early as 2019, putting even more emphasis on service quality and network stability.
mnp opens doors to sniping mobile subscribers
Customers may be able to change operators through MNP as early as next year

Half a year to wait

Nearly eight years after the first proposal of carrying out mobile number portability, subscribers currently have to wait at least six months to be able to switch operators.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC)’s Circular No.35/2017/TT-BTTTT about shifting from current mobile network to MNP has officially come into effect, the shift has not been carried out.

The shift to MNP has been temporarily halted because MoIC has ordered all domestic mobile operators to transfer subscribers’ phone number from 11 to 10 digits between September 15, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

MNP enables mobile phone users to retain their phone numbers while changing from one mobile network carrier to another.

“The shift on MNP may be temporarily halted this year and will be carried out in early 2019 at the earliest,” said Pham Ngoc Tu, VNPT’s director of Market Research and Service Development.

MobiFone’s representative also said that the shift on MNP and the shift from 11 to 10 digit numbers cannot be performed at the same time. Mobile operators first have to complete the change in phone numbers, then they can change to MNP. Both shifts are sizeable projects and need a lot of technical staff as there are millions of subscribers.

At the moment, mobile operators stated that they are ready for the shift to MNP. VinaPhone successfully changed the operator of several of its phone numbers to Viettel, MobiFone, and Vietnamobile, a process which took 30 minutes, according to Nguyen Truong Giang, VinaPhone’s deputy director.

Other mobile operators also completed similar tests to apply the shift to MNP.

Coming into a new battle

The MNP opens a new battlefield for mobile operators to offer new mobile services with more reasonable prices and enhance the quality of their main lines and network coverage.

Imogen Colton, Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE)’s manager of carrier powers and immunities, assessed that applying the regulation will intensify competition among mobile operators who will have to improve their service quality to prevent customers from switching to other networks while retaining their mobile phone numbers.

According to the experience from other countries, about 5-10 per cent of subscribers switch carriers through MNP. Applying the rate to Vietnam, this would mean 6.5-13 million subscribers will shift to MNP, a large enough number to alter market shares and the revenue of mobile operators.

A new battlefield has been opened, where mobile operators will have to protect their clients from the sniping of the competition, while seizing opportunities to expand their client base.

By Tuan Anh

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