Mobile Number Portability in Pakistan

Posted on April 3, 2007
Filed Under >Babar Bhatti, Economy & Development, Science and Technology
Total Views: 61765


Guest Post by Babar Bhatti

After many false starts mobile number portability (MNP) was implemented in Pakistan recently (March 23 to be precise). MNP allows users to switch mobile phone company while keeping their existing mobile number. MNP was one of the key items of Pakistan’s Mobile Cellular Policy of 2004.

The implementation of MNP was a huge and expensive undertaking as it requires significant system changes and all phone companies have to agree to rules and tariffs for routing calls. Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) is the government agency which was responsible for overseeing the MNP initiative. In the beginning there was reluctance from the big mobile companies and PTCL and there were disagreements about the tariffs, which caused delays (see timeline below).

There are many possible reasons why users would want to switch providers – and of course most users like to keep their existing phone number when switching – therefore the term porting.

MNP is considered a major achievement for any mobile market and it is anticipated to shake things up in the already heated mobile market. In US for instance local phone number portability was implemented first around 1997 and Mobile number portability came fairly recently (Nov 2003) after mobile companies were mandated to do so by FCC, the US communications regulatory agency. Japan launched MNP in 2006 and experienced aggressive – even misleading – marketing tactics. India is still far away from MNP due to a number of technical and regulatory hurdles.

Research from Japan and India indicates that about 30% of subscribers would switch providers if they could keep their numbers. MNP poses many technical and administrative challenges for the operators but provides a fair and competitive landscape for consumers and operators. Usually MNP increases the potential of churn (loss of customers) thereby forcing service operators to work hard to retain their customers. Within a few months winners and losers will emerge in Pakistan.

  • 2004: Cellular Telecom policy requires MNP implementation by Jan 2006.
  • January 2005: PTA asks for Request for Proposals on Mobile Number Portability
  • May 2005: All the six cellular mobile operators agree to form a Supervisory Board to implement Mobile Number Portability with the help of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Initial expenses on the implementation of MNP to be shared by the operators. A company named “Pakistan MNP Database LimitedÔ is set up with the specific purpose of facilitating the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP).
  • June 2005: The Mobile Number Portability Regulations are placed for the information of all concerned and comments are requested from all stakeholders including general public.
  • July 2006: Chairman PTA announces that MNP will be implemented in October 2006
  • Sep 2006: PTA sets first Quarter 2007 as the new target for MNP implementation
  • March 2007: MNP launched!

As with all other MNP implementations, there will be issues, system glitches and confusion. The administrative processes for handling portability requests can be complex and hard to track at times. I hope that the companies provide an easy-to-understand guide for their consumer to get through the portability process. I’m sure most consumers will agree that these teething pains are worth the freedom to choose their favorite phone company while retaining their phone number!

There are 4 steps in the process:

  1. Certain requirements need to be met before MNP can be requested for a phone account; such as: proof of ownership, no conflict due to existing agreement, number should have been in service for at least 60 days etc.
  2. Fill out a form and present it to the provider to which you wish to port – called Recipient Network.
  3. Pay the porting fee (varies by company, up to a few hundred rupees).
  4. A Number Portability Request (NPR) is launched by the Recipient Network and you are given a SIM and a tentative time (at least 4 days – but could be up to 21 days) to when you can start to use new mobile provider network on this SIM.

Information about MNP is slowly getting to the consumers. There are still some open questions. In case of Pakistan each mobile company has its own prefix, such as 0333 for Ufone. This helped users to identify the phone company when making calls. The rates for outgoing phone calls are cheaper for in-network calls and higher for calls to another company’s number, such as Telenor to Warid (Incoming calls are free). MNP makes this a bit tricky – it will be a while before this becomes clear.

MNP Resources: PTA, Mobilink, Telnor.
Babar Bhatti is a Telecom professional based in Dallas, Texas. See more at Babar’s blog: State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan.

50 Comments on “Mobile Number Portability in Pakistan”

  1. April 3rd, 2007 12:52 pm

    Oh good! so mobilink is going to go out of business in next 6 months :D

    Aur Sunao?

  2. Khalid R Hasan says:
    April 3rd, 2007 1:10 pm

    For a change the consumer is likely to benefit, as the big companies will have to shape up or lose customers. However, if one does change providers, what happens to the original security deposit? Can that be “ported” too?

  3. Ali Khan says:
    April 3rd, 2007 1:10 pm

    Has anyone ported their number? Does it work?

  4. fawaz says:
    April 3rd, 2007 1:12 pm

    i wanna ask u guys that if i m switching my connection from telenor to mobilink or what so ever whether the prefix of my number (0345)is going to b changed to (0300-etc) or it will remain same?????

  5. Saad says:
    April 3rd, 2007 1:28 pm

    The prefix is going to remain the same.

  6. Saad says:
    April 3rd, 2007 1:34 pm

    And do remember that you’ll be charged Rs. 200 for this service by ‘PTA’.

  7. Babar says:
    April 3rd, 2007 4:21 pm

    The first number was ported to Telenor a few days ago. The prefix remains the same.

  8. rumor says:
    April 3rd, 2007 6:59 pm

    had this for years in the USA


    you guys just catchign up now

  9. Saad says:
    April 3rd, 2007 11:15 pm

    Err, given that Pakistan belongs to the group of third world countries and is actually the first country in South Asia to implement MNP, it’s quite an achievement.

  10. GrimReaper says:
    April 4th, 2007 2:33 am

    Same with AIDS, just starting to catchup now.

    rumor Apr 3rd, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    had this for years in the USA


    you guys just catchign up now

  11. Naeem says:
    April 4th, 2007 3:32 am

    Guys, I tried this to switch from Mobilink to Warid, but discovered that Mobilink is playing games here and making complexeties for their old customers to swithch, I am using moblilink from last three years and when I tried to switch the Warid people told me that my request has been rejected by the Mobilink server and they are facing this issue nationwide for old mobilink customers.

    The same evening I recied call from Mobilink customer care department and they started offering benefits with commitment that I will not switch from them till next two months (atleast).

    I am still facing this issue and this time Warid people have told me that for each request they will charge either my request retured succeeded or not from Mobilink server, I verified that each my inormation is correct (name and nic number) it’s just Mobilink people that they are creating issues.

  12. April 4th, 2007 6:35 am

    I NEED 3G!!!!

  13. YLH says:
    April 4th, 2007 10:09 am

    As someone who has been working – from a legal angle- on the MNP, the whole thing has come with less sound than a bachon ka patakha…. In any event, MNP is truly a work of art as far legislation goes because it hits at the core of the current SMP operator forcing the SMP operator to become more competitive…

    All in all… it is a good thing for the Pakistani consumer…

  14. MAZ says:
    April 4th, 2007 11:07 am

    Woohooo! Mobilink is gowing down! finally! :D

  15. YLH says:
    April 4th, 2007 11:40 am

    I don’t think it is possible to run Mobilink out of business…

    Do remember that Mobilink increased its customer base from 7 million to 23 million AFTER Warid and Telenor came into the picture.

  16. Adnan Siddiqi says:
    April 4th, 2007 3:57 pm

    The reason mobilink can’t be thrown out because they are the oldest operator in Pakistan and most of coperate accounts are owned by Mobilink.A common man like me could change his service anytime but companies can’t do it so easily. This is the main reason of Mobilink’s monopoly. something similar is with PTCL as well.

    I wonder whether they fixed their system to prevent the hacking of serial nos of Rs.100 denomination yet or not?

  17. Social Mistri says:
    April 4th, 2007 5:29 pm

    These guys need to put in more back-end bandwidth to the internet, and deploy EDGE/3G universally. There’s so many value added services that can be used to differentiate these companies; hopefully MNP will drive some new features. The telcos will realize soon enough that the price war has a natural floor.

    If you want us to be loyal to you, Big Telco, then give us 3G, more bandwidth, video conferencing, free voice mail, free call forwarding, voice mail pickups through the web, voice mail to email fwds, voice transcription to email, VoIP gateways etc. etc. etc.

  18. Babar says:
    April 10th, 2007 1:05 pm

    Naeem – sorry to hear about your issue. I wonder if there’s a clear process for escalating issues like you are facing. I hope that Mobilink pays a penalty for not being able to comply with regulations. Or at least Mobilink should provide you free service :)

  19. Babar says:
    April 10th, 2007 1:52 pm
  20. Kamran Solangi says:
    April 28th, 2007 11:28 am

    Woow! Congratulations to Mobilink Customers :)
    I have been using jazz for three years but now I will avail this facility asap to get rid of jazz tariff, Mobilink increased its customers but now it has to lose!

  21. bibi says:
    May 10th, 2007 9:01 pm
  22. kashif says:
    July 6th, 2007 3:57 pm

    sir my request is that how can i trase the number

  23. Hassan says:
    October 23rd, 2007 4:35 am

    u fone is just charging rs 5 only for port in ofany companys num.

  24. haseeb tariq says:
    October 25th, 2007 7:37 am

    ufone is the best.

  25. ayesha sajid says:
    October 25th, 2007 9:49 am

    What does 3G stand for ??
    I got it on my phone when there was no signal .

  26. Naseer says:
    October 30th, 2007 5:16 am

    – Wow !!!what an achievement-
    They will simply convert the MNP’s thru USB to USA –
    — aur sunao !!!

  27. muhammad iqbal says:
    November 23rd, 2007 10:50 am

    if i loss my ufone mobile nomber what can i do .and my balance is expire i cant do any call i have no chance .
    its question ?
    that cecuvation what can i do .

  28. Usman Malik says:
    February 12th, 2008 6:05 am

    Mobilink is Always the best,
    You know, every operator has technical problem, BUT the difference among them is Customer Services, you peoples just need to visit the Mobilink Service Centre. They are amazing. They care you like monther. Oh God!! I was expereiced this.. This is Cool…

    Usman Malik

  29. Aadil says:
    April 8th, 2008 5:57 am

    i want the address of a telenor number

  30. Sidhant Singh says:
    May 8th, 2008 2:23 pm

    Very Informative. Thanks !!

  31. Majid says:
    June 17th, 2008 7:32 am

    Mobilink is Always the best,
    You know, every operator has technical problem, BUT the difference among them is Customer Services, you peoples just need to visit the Mobilink Service Centre. They are amazing. They care you like monther. Oh God!! I was expereiced this.. This is Cool

  32. Farrukh says:
    July 22nd, 2008 12:37 pm

    If Mobilink is the best then why people swtiched from Mobilink to Ufone or other operators when MNP launched??

  33. Naeem says:
    September 5th, 2008 4:06 pm

    i am planing to start my own mobile compny in 2012

    name : sasta mobile

    rates : Half of any compny

    steeling of name in not allowed

  34. Tauqeer says:
    January 4th, 2009 12:03 pm

    But they always put on additional fees so be very careful when tranfering

  35. Naghma says:
    January 7th, 2009 12:13 pm

    Mujhy to hansi aa rahee hay
    MOBILINK males k liay lagta hay
    UFONE dunia jahan k farigh logon k liy
    Telenor to hay hi Gaoun walon k liay
    WARID ka to name sun k Bussiness man’s ka khayal ata hay
    Paktel females k liay ……..jiss ka latest version ZONG aya hay
    kitny mazay k networks hain hamary haan……………

  36. SONA says:
    June 13th, 2009 7:11 pm

    mujhy ye jaan kr behad khushi mehsoos ho rhi hai k is dunya main abi tk mehran bhai jese log rehte hain or shayad dunya inhi kuch ache logo ki waja se chal rhi hai::::::::
    Allah hum sb ko toufeeq atta farmaye k hm siraat-e-mustaqeem per aajaen>>>

  37. Aslam says:
    July 25th, 2009 3:33 pm

    nice post and blog.

  38. faree says:
    August 27th, 2009 5:41 pm

    thanks for informative post brother.

  39. September 27th, 2009 1:29 pm

    informative post yara.

  40. ejaz hasan says:
    November 9th, 2009 6:26 pm

    I have recently changed my carrier from stc to mobily it took 21 days. it is working well and there is no problem of any kind.

  41. Ahmed says:
    November 15th, 2009 6:26 am

    Change the carrier , not your plan. I think current trend is this.

  42. momna says:
    February 1st, 2010 3:45 am

    my Email my cell num 03367306441

  43. Phoneman says:
    March 9th, 2010 2:17 am

    Actually we can now say that this process actually worked quite well.

  44. ahsan says:
    April 8th, 2010 4:53 am


  45. JuNaid says:
    April 30th, 2010 7:11 pm

    m hurted i hv nthng to say

  46. Noreen says:
    May 7th, 2010 2:13 pm

    I am Norren from lahore
    lahore, need good frind

  47. sham says:
    May 9th, 2010 4:26 am

    Hi Naureen .

    how are you ?

  48. tariq says:
    May 26th, 2010 2:03 am

    zong is the best this is my no contact with me :i love frendship .
    0343 8938952 telenor ko gole maro
    MNP Karlo SAb
    Denmark our Norway say dilo may nafrat pyda karo

  49. June 11th, 2010 5:53 am

    find nice friend

  50. February 26th, 2011 5:56 pm

    How are you all? I hope everyone will be fine. What do you think about this blog. I feel very good about this blog and I hope you like this Blog as well.

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