MOSCOW, December 16. /ITAR-TASS/. About 10,000 Russians have applied for switching their cellular service provider while preserving the phone number in December, Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov told the Rossiya-24 TV news outlet Monday.
“About a hundred numbers have already been transferred. The operators continue streamlining the technical processes, but we have seen no failures or critical situations so far,” Nikiforov said, adding that process meetings with operators took place every week. The communications ministry and the operators had feared an initial flurry that might lead to technical problems. Fortunately, these were averted.
Nikoforov said that, according to expert estimates, about 3 million subscribers would use the mobile number portability (MNP) service annually. He believes the number of applications will increase in spring and may reach 2-4 million by the end of 2014. The operators may soon start “fighting” for subscribers, and not only for individuals, but also for corporate customers, he added.
On December 1, a cell phone number ceased to be an operator’s property — a law took effect in Russia that now allows a subscriber to preserve the number while changing the operator (MNP) via an application with the new company. Cost of this service is determined by the recipient operator, but should not exceed 100 roubles. During the transition period running till April 7, 2014, a recipient operator may determine the date to start servicing the new subscriber (no later than April 14, 2014). Following April 7, the switch should take eight days for retail customers and 29 days for corporate subscribers. This term may be prolonged to 180 days at the subscriber’s request.
The recipient operator includes the subscriber’s data in the database of ported numbers to check possible debts to the donor operator. Once all debts are repaid and there are no technical obstacles, the portability procedure starts. On the third day the recipient operator informs the new customer about the portability or its impossibility; and a day before contacting the new network the operator notifies the subscriber of the need to change the SIM-card.