Mobile number portability

This article is about telephone number portability on mobile phones. For telephone number portability on landlines, see local number portability.

Mobile number portability (MNP) enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network carrier to another.

General overview

Mobile number portability is implemented in different ways across the globe. The International and European standard is for a customer wishing to port his/her number to contact the new network (recipient), which then sends the number portability request (NPR) to the current network (donor). This is known as "recipient-led" porting. The UK and India are the only exceptions to implement the donor-led system. The customer wishing to port his/her number is required to contact the donor to obtain a code (Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) in the UK and Unique Porting Code (UPC) in India) which is then given to the recipient network. The recipient continues the porting process by contacting the donor with a porting code. This form of porting is known as "donor-led" and has been criticised by some industry analysts as being inefficient, though it prevents MNP scams. It has also been observed that it may act as customer deterrent as well as allowing the donor an opportunity of "winning back" the customer. This might lead to distortion of competition, especially in the markets with new entrants that are yet to achieve scalability of operation. Based on the recommendations of the Authority on MNP, dated 8 March 2006, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued guidelines for MNP implementation in the country on 1st Aug 2008. Subsequently, the DoT selected two companies as MNP Service providers each serving in a designated zone in the country. As per the instructions of DoT dated 6 May 2009, a Port Transaction Charge will be charged by the MNP Service Provider from the recipient carrier for processing each porting request. The Dipping charge shall be payable by those telecom service providers who utilize the dipping services (query response services) from the MNP Service Provider. The Porting Charge is payable by the subscriber to the recipient carrier for porting his mobile number. The port transaction charge, dipping charges and the porting charge shall be governed by the Telecom Tariff Order (TTO)/ determination by TRAI.

Technical details

A significant technical aspect of MNP is related to the routing of calls or mobile messages (SMS, MMS) to a number once it has been ported. There are various flavours of call routing implementation across the globe but the International and European best practice is via the use of a central database (CDB) of ported numbers. A network operator makes copies of the CDB and queries it to find out to which network to send a call. According to RFC3482, this is also known as All Call Query (ACQ) and is highly efficient and scalable. A majority of the established and upcoming MNP systems across the world are based on this ACQ/CDB method of call routing. One of the very few countries not to use ACQ/CDB is the UK, where once a number has been ported, calls to that number are still routed via the donor network. This is also known as "indirect routing" and is highly inefficient as it is wasteful of transmission and switching capacity. Because of its donor dependent nature, indirect routing also means that if the donor network develops a fault or goes out of business, the customers who have ported numbers out of that network will lose incoming calls to their numbers. The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom completed its extended review of the UK MNP process on 29 November 2007, and mandated that ACQ/CDB be implemented for mobile to mobile ported calls by no later than 1 September 2009.

Prior to March 2008 it took a minimum of 5 working days to port a number in the UK compared to 3.5 working days in Pakistan, 2 hours in United States, as low as 20 minutes in the Republic of Ireland, 3 minutes in Australia and even a matter of seconds in New Zealand. On 17 July 2007, Ofcom released its conclusions from the review of the UK MNP and mandated reduction of porting time to 2 working days effective 1 April 2008. On 29 November 2007, Ofcom completed a round of consultations on further reduction of porting time to 2 hours along with recipient-led porting and mandated that near-instant (no more than 2 hours) recipient-led porting be implemented by no later than 1 September 2009. However, in early 2008 Vodafone UK appealed the Ofcom statement before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), and on 18 September 2008, CAT ruled in favor of the appeal, returning the matter back to Ofcom for reconsideration. On 8 July 2010, Ofcom issued a final statement, retaining the donor-led process, mandating a two-hour PAC release time, and reducing the porting time from two to one working day.[1]

In a decentralised model of MNP, a FNR (flexible number register) may be used to manage a database of ported out/ported in numbers for call routing.

Number lookup services

Service providers and carriers who route messages and voice calls to MNP-enabled countries might use home location register (HLR) query services to find out the correct network of a mobile phone number. A number of such services exist, which query the operator's HLR over the SS7 signalling network in order to determine the current network of a specified mobile phone number prior to attempted routing of messaging or voice traffic.

Impact of MNP on mobile carriers and customers

MNP map by implementation time

MNP is important for telecoms markets because it removes a bar to switching that keeps those with much equity in the number – in particular many business users – prisoner behind a high switching barrier. The reduction in barriers to switching is of particular benefit to challenger carriers against dominant incumbents. Typically, when MNP is implemented in a country, a rise in churn follows.

The caller / customer experience of portability can vary by country. For example, in Portugal any call to a ported mobile number includes an announcement that the number has been ported.[2] Uptake of porting varies considerably by market: A report by Irish regulator Comreg shows over 3 million Irish mobile numbers ported between 2004 and 2013,[3] whereas in Portugal, with a much larger population of mobile users, only a little over one million numbers ported in a similar period.

The Americas

Country Implementation date
Time to port
Price Short notes References
Argentina 2010.08.17 1–5 days ARS 5 [4] The plan started in August 2010 [5]
Brazil 2008.09.01 0–3 free The plan started in March 2007 [6]
Chile 2012.01.16 1 free The process takes place overnight. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies [7]
Canada 2007.03.14 0 free MNP procedure takes 10–20 minutes.
Colombia 2011.07.29 3 free [8]
Dominican Republic 2009.09.30 3–10 free [9]
Ecuador 2009.10.12 4 free ASCP handled by Systor, Telconet and JR Electric Supply
Mexico 2008.07.05 Service handled by Telcordia Technologies and Neoris [10]
Paraguay 2012.11.30 Up to 8 working days Free MNP can take up to 8 working days but usually takes no longer than 1-2 working days. Switching occurs between 1am and 5am.
Peru 2010.01.01 7-9 free sim card of the new mobile company that will cost around 15 PEN.
United States 2003.11.24 0 free MNP procedure takes 2 hours.
Honduras 2014.04.30 0 free MNP procedure takes 1 hour.
El Salvador 2015.08.24 0 free The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, administrated by Mediafon and "imCard S.A. de C.V." . MNP procedure takes up to 8 hours, FNP – 3 days. [11][12]

Central Asia

Country Implementation date
Time to port
Price Short notes References
Republic of Kazakhstan 2016.01.01 Free The ongoing NPCDB implementation, the NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, to be administrated by national NPCDB Administrator.

Asia Pacific

Country Implementation date
Time to port
Price Short notes References
Australia 2001.09.25 0 free Previously prefixes
04x1, 04x2, 04x3 referred to Optus
04x4, 04x5 and 04x6 referred to Vodafone
043x, referred to Vodafone Hutchison Australia formally known as Hutchison 3G Australia.
04x7, 04x8, 04x9 and 0410x referred to Telstra
Some carriers may a charge fee for porting out. MNP takes around 10 to 20 minutes
Hong Kong 1999.03.01 2 free Service handled by Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA). In the network, you may be charged unexpectedly for a call to a mobile that has been ported form a different network. [14]
India 2011.01.20 7 20 INR Number portability is available nationwide,[15] provided the customer should have completed a period of 90 days (from the date of activation of the mobile connection) with the current operator, to be eligible for porting to another operator.

Although the duration for the process is 7 days for total process but the time a number is deactivated for portability is 3–4 days only.


[17] [18]

Maldives 2016.03.10 2 MVR 200 Number portability is allowed within a circle. The customer should have completed a period of 90 days (from the date of activation of the mobile connection) with the current operator and any outstanding bills should be cleared, to be eligible for porting to another operator.

Although the duration for the process is 2 days for total process but the time a number is deactivated for portability is 2 hours only.


[20] [21]

Japan 2006.10.24 1 free [22] [23]
New Zealand 2007 [24]
Malaysia 2008.10.01 1 free 1 day is a minimum time necessary for porting. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies [25][26][27][28]
Pakistan 2007.03.23 4 free Customers can port between prepaid and postpaid options. On porting IN, the recipient company provides, free credit and airtime. The service is handled by Pakistan MNP Database (Guarantee) Limited,[29] the joint venture of all the cellular companies of Pakistan.
Singapore 2008.06.13 1 free Customers are not able to port between prepay and post pay options. Vendor for database installation is Syniverse Technologies [30]
South Korea 2004 [31]
Taiwan 2005.10.13 3 NTD 240
Thailand 2010.12.15 3 free Number Portability Clearinghouse service is handled by Telcordia Technologies. 3 days can be just working days.


Country Implementation date
Time to port
Price Short notes References
Albania 2010.12.22 TBA TBA Agreement signed on 2010-12-22 between AKEP (Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications) and the service handling company "INFOSOFT SYSTEMS sh.a.". Service not implemented yet. [32]
Armenia 2014.04.01
Austria 2004.10.16 3 EUR 15
Azerbaijan 2013.08.01 3 Free ,[33][34]
Belarus 2012.02.01 1 Free
Belgium 2002.10.01 2 Free The central solution CRDC has been re-implemented several times. First time it was implemented by Telcordia Technologies US, second time by Cap Gemini Sweden and Belgium, third time by Porthus Belgium. Access to DB: setup fee : €11 000, annual fee: €3000. Before, the prefixes 047x was for Proximus phones, 048x for Base and 049x for Mobistar
Bulgaria 2008.04.11 2 EUR 2.56
Croatia 2006.10.01 5 5 days is maximum possible period necessary for porting a number. Service handled by HAKOM.
Cyprus 2004.07.?? 2 Free[35]
Czech Republic 2006.01.15 4 Before 2013-09-01 it was 30 days to transfer, now just 4 days [36]
Denmark 2001.07.?? 1 DKK 0-29 The central solutions is called OCH - Operators Clearing House. Before 2009 it was 30–60 days to transfer number, now just 1 day [37]
Estonia 2005.01.01 7
Finland 2003.07.25 5 Free Handled by the company Numpac [38]
France 2003.06.30 3 Free Heavily improved since November 2011 with a 3-days maximum lead time (was taking 2 months in most cases before 2007, then 10 days)[39] [40]
Georgia 2011 Free [41]
Germany 2002.11.01 6 EUR 25 The average price charged is about €25. The exact amount depends on the old provider. A price limit of €30.72 was set by the Bundesnetzagentur.[42] [43]
Greece 2003.09.?? 3 Free Service handled by Telcordia Technologies
Hungary 2004.05.01 8 Free
Iceland 2004.10.01 10 Free 10 days is maximum possible period. Service handled by Telcordia Technologies
Ireland 2003.07.25 0 Free Volumes of ported mobile numbers are reported in the Comreg quarterly report[3]
Italy 2002.04.01 1 free (1 to 1.6 € if the subscriber wants to transfer his prepaid credit to the new carrier) The maximum time for the procedure is 24 working hours. In case of delay up to 3 working days no refund is given, if the delay is longer than 3 days user receive a refund of 2.5 € for each day of delay, start counting from day 1.
Latvia 2007.??.?? 10 Free
Lithuania 2004.01.01 28 Time to port - 1 day, short notice "After rebid in 2015, from 2016.01.01 NPCDB daministartor VsI "Numerio perkelimas" manages NPCDB solution NUMLEX dveloped and installed by Mediafon.
Luxembourg 2005.02.01 1 Managed by the G.I.E Telcom E.I.G. operator group and developed, installed and operated by Systor Trondheim AS.
Macedonia 2008.09.01 The reference database was developed, installed and is operated by Seavus Group.
Malta 2005.07.31 0 4 hours is a period necessary to port a number.
Moldova 2013.07.01 5-30 Free Service handled by Mediafon. The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed, installed and supported by Mediafon, administrated by national NPCDB Administrator "NP Base". [44]
Netherlands 1999.04.?? 3 [45]
Norway 2001.04.01 5 NOK 0 - 200 Administrated by the National Reference Database (NRDB). The reference database was developed, installed and is operated by Systor Trondheim AS.
Poland 2006.02.?? Free To be administrated by the National Central Database (PLI-CBD) run by Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). 30-day max porting time is to be reduced to 1 day.
Portugal 2002.01.01 5-10 Free[46] Operated by Portabil S.A. Solution implemented by Systor Trondheim AS of Norway.
Romania 2008.10.21 3[47] Free Developed by UTI Systems based on the Porthus implementation [48]
Russia 2013.12.01 8[49] RUR 0-100[50][51] The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, administrated by national NPCDB Administrator. If the mobile operator does not have time to port a phone number at 7 days, all services are free for subscriber.
Slovakia 2004.05.01 4 Free Portation request done in 5 days.
Slovenia 2005.12.31 5 EUR 5 5 EUR is a maximum possible price
Spain 2000.10.?? 2 Free[52] Central database managed through the AOPM (Asociación de Operadores para la Portabilidad Móvil).
Sweden 2001.09.01 5-6[53][54] Free The largest operators formed independent company, SNPAC AB, to procure central database (CRDB) solution. Implementation of CRDB is carried out by Cap Gemini & Oracle.
Switzerland 2000.03.?? 5 Free[55]
Ukraine TBA TBA TBA The services should have been introduced on 1 January 2011 but because of lack of interest of operators to bid on the tender to select the administrator of the database on 1 July 2014 introduction was again postponed indefinitely.[56]
United Kingdom 1999.01.?? 1 Free Users in the United Kingdom are required to use a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC)[57] [58]

Middle East and Africa

Country Implementation date
Time to port
Price Short notes References
Egypt 2008.04.?? up to 15 days, can be cancelled for any dues from previous operator Free, was charging 75 EGP before NPC serves the centralized administrative and provisioning role of MNP. Number Portability Clearhouse is handled by Telcordia Technologies, where Giza Systems is the system integrator. Cannot revert to existing operator before 1 year of service to new operator. Porting to another operator, line should be at least 1 year old.
Ghana 2011.07.07 typically 5-10 min., max 24 hours Free Central system operated by Porting Access Ghana, under authorisation from National Communications Authority
Iran 2016.07.10 3-5 Free
Jordan 2010 [24]
Israel 2007.12.03 up-to 30 minutes Free Service includes landline as well as mobile numbers [59]
Kenya 2011 [60]
Kuwait 2013.06.15 1 Free The Ministry of Telecommunications has launched the service on 2013-06-15. The project manager is the National Technology Enterprises Company
Nigeria 2013.04.22 2 Free NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) has adopted a phased approach to the launch of Mobile Number Portability service in Nigeria. The process to port to CDMA networks will begin as soon as the GSM porting process is completed and launched. Mobile Number Portability will initially be available among the GSM mobile operators: MTN, GLOBACOM, ETISALAT, and AIRTEL. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies [61]
Oman 2006.08.26 Implemented as a decentralized solution by Porthus for Nawras, and by Gulf Business Machines/Telcordia for Oman Mobile.
Saudi Arabia 2006.07.08 Free Managed by the Centralized Clearinghouse Approach, through the NPC (Number Portability Clearinghouse), a product of Telcordia Technologies. The implementer and system integrator is Giza Arabia.
Bahrain 2011.07.08 Free Managed by the Systor Cntral System.
South Africa 2006.11.10 The three operators, Vodacom SA, MTN SA, and Cell C, formed an independent company for the implementation and management of the central solution. After delays, the implementation of this solution was awarded to local company Saab Grintek teamed up with Telcordia Technologies.
Tunisian Republic The ongoing NPCDB implementation, the NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, to be administrated by national NPCDB Administrator.
Turkey 2008.11.09 6 Free AVEA and Vodafone hired Gantek to implement central database (CRDB) solution and donated it to Turkish Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies
Senegal 2015.09.01 MNP goes nearly online, max -24 hours Free The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon, administrated by Mediafon and Comet Afrique Telecoms . Only MNP.

See also


  1. Ofcom. "Changes to the Mobile Number Porting Process, Final Statement", London, 8 July 2010. Retrieved on 6 May 2013
  3. 1 2
  4. "Mobile Portability in Argentina". (in Spanish). AFTIC. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  5. Argentina
  6. Brazil
  7. Chile
  8. Colombia
  9. Dominican Republic
  10. Mexico
  13. Australia
  14. Hong Kong
  16. TRAI
  17. MNP India
  18. MNP India , Online Status of Porting Request
  19. Maldives introduces mobile number portability
  20. Maldives launches mobile number portability
  21. Customer Guide for availing the facility of Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
  22. Softbank MNP Instructions
  23. Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in Japan
  24. 1 2 TelQ Wiki. MNP map by implementation date
  25. Maxis Telecommunication MNP FAQ
  26. Celcom Telecommunication MNP FAQ
  27. Switch to DiGi FAQ
  28. MNP Malaysia-launched Nationwide in October
  30. It's confirmed – Singapore has incomplete number portability
  31. Balkanweb News Agency
  32. "Change your service to Lemontel". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  33. Czech Republic
  34. Nummerflytning - Telia
  35. Suomen numerot NUMPAC Oy: Numpac in English
  36. "Code RIO (French)".
  37. (French) 3 days maximum time-to-port Arcep, November 2011
  38. TelQ Wiki. MNP by implementation time map
  39. "Rufnummer Mitnehmen (German)".
  40. Germany
  41. EEC report MNP in Europe
  42. "ANACOM - Table of prices (reported up to the second half of 2012)". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  43. "Portabilitate". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  44. Romania
  45. "Постановление Правительства Российской Федерации от 15 июля 2013 г. N 599 "О внесении изменений в Правила оказания услуг подвижной связи"". Российская Газета.
  46. "Проект Федерального закона Российской Федерации "О внесении изменений в Федеральный Закон ""О связи""". Российская Газета.
  47. "Mobile Number Portability in Russia Guidelines (English)".
  48. "Mobile Number Portability in Spain Guidelines (Spanish)".
  49. "Telenor - Kundservice - Nummerflytt". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  50. "Byt till Telia - Mobil telefoni - Privat -". 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  51. "Switching To Orange - Orange Communications SA/AG". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  52. Introduction of MNP service postponed again, new tender to select administrator could be announced, Interfax-Ukraine (1 July 2014)
  53. "PAC Codes".
  54. United Kingdom
  55. Phone Number Portability and Its Implementation in Telephone Networks in Israel – FAQ. Israel Ministry of Communications (Hebrew)
  56. TelQ Wiki. MNP map by implementation time
  57. Mobile Number Portability FAQ - Nigerian Communications Commission
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