by Rachna Singh
When I first heard of MNP, I promptly consigned the term to my Recycle Bin. But to my utter chagrin, the term came up frequently in conversations. Taking pity on my MNP illiteracy a friend deigned to enlighten me.
I was told, albeit patronizingly, that Mobile Number Portability would allow me to change my mobile service provider without changing my number. It meant that if I was miffed with the ubiquitous connection errors of my service provider I could ‘port’ out without the inconvenience of texting my new number to all.
Buoyed by the MNP implication, I started checking the portability protocol. All I needed to do was ‘sms’ a request to 1900. I did the needful, thinking with asperity that like most things, this ‘file’ would be processed in ‘due course’. But to my utter amazement my text message was acknowledged a few milliseconds after I disconnected. The sms courteously informed me that ‘my request had been processed’. Even as I struggled to come to terms with such un-nerving efficiency, I received another text message giving me a ‘unique porting code’. ‘Ye of little faith’ I thought as I berated myself roundly for my cynicism.
I decided in that moment of euphoric MNP enlightenment that I would be a staunch ‘desi’ loyalist. Expecting confirmation of my portability status the next day, I was taken aback but not unduly perturbed when my service provider informed me that I had earned free talk time of 10,000 seconds. Apologetically, I informed him that I was porting out. ‘We have a lot of freebies for you’ he trilled in his best salesman voice.
In the next few days I was offered free talk time, free internet facility, free ring tone downloads and what have you. I clung to my steadfast refusal with great difficulty. Then the tenor of my service provider changed. One day I received a brief text saying ‘your documents are not as per DOT directive. Please furnish immediately’. ‘Case of mistaken identity’, I thought. After all I had been with the same service provider for the last two years. I waited in vain for the standard ‘ignore the message’ sms. Then came a terse text: ‘Please submit necessary documents. Failure would lead to disconnection.’
Indignant at the treatment meted out to a respectable user, I spoke to the Manager. He apologized profusely and assured me that no disconnection would be made. The next day I received two messages. One said: ‘Your concern about disconnection has been resolved’. The other said: ‘In the absence of necessary documents your request for portability cannot be processed’. So here I am with my ‘port-ability’ dreams shattered. ‘Port-in-ability’ seems to be the order of the day.
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