What is MNP? Know the MNP process and why we need it.

MNP, or Mobile number portability, is a relatively new facility for mobile subscribers by telecom network operators. MNP Means that a mobile subscriber can switch to another network provider while keeping the existing phone number.

Before MNP, if a mobile subscriber wanted to switch to another mobile operator, he had to purchase a new sim card with a unique new mobile number.

Why do we need MNP?

Carry the same mobile number when the operator changes:

Most people carry the same mobile number for long and have been registered in multiple places, e.g., banks, websites, etc. When a mobile number changes. This requires updating the mobile number in all places, which is problematic. But at the same time, everyone wants to use better services from any of the mobile operators in that area.

With mobile number portability or MNP, the pain of changing a mobile number is gone. You can keep the same number but switch the mobile operator to enjoy better services. The full form mentions portability. So changing a mobile operator is called porting a mobile number from one service provider to another.

Reduce National Roaming cost with MNP:

There are countries like India where roaming applies to a mobile number if it changes a significant location within a country. E.g., if someone lives in Delhi and his employment location changes to Pune. Earlier to MNP, if a person wants to keep the same number, he has to buy at least a roaming pack to reduce the phone bills. With MNP, a mobile phone number can be changed from one location to another within a country. So that national roaming charges can be removed.

Subscriber Profile changes after MNP.

Subscriber profile update after MNP

Subscriber Profile Migration:

A subscriber profile is configured in the HLR. HLR is a database along with a software application. It keeps the subscriber record. When a new sim card is purchased. The HLR is updated for a new sim card with a new IMSI. After MNP, the IMSI changes of a subscriber. The new IMSI belongs to the new mobile operator. The HLR of the new operator is configured with its own new IMSI with the older MSDN. All services after MNP are controlled by the new HLR.

MNP Database update:

When a country starts MNP services to mobile subscribers, an MNP database will be created. The MNP database maps the mobile number to the currently serving operator. The mapping could be as simple as the mobile number to the HLR global title.

What is the MNP process?

For porting a number to another mobile operator, there is an MNP process. The MNP process deactivates and removes a subscriber from the current serving operator and configures and activates the new service provider. Before moving to the new one, the subscriber clears the bill with the existing mobile operator.

  • Read the porting requirements carefully for the new mobile operator.
  • If the applicant is eligible, the mobile operator requires a signed copy of the documents.
  • The new mobile operator issues the sim card to the subscriber.
  • Old sim card gets deactivated, and new sim cards get activated.
  • For more details in India, you can visit the TRAI website.

Routing of calls and SMS in the mobile network after MNP:

THE SERVING OPERATOR CAN BE IDENTIFIED before MNP, from a mobile number or MSISDN. From the country code and network code present in MSISDN,  a call or SMS can be sent to the serving mobile network operator. For example, if a Vodafone subscriber dials an Airtel New Delhi India subscriber. Based on country code, the message for a call first reaches India, then based on network code call reaches the Airtel Delhi GMSC.

After the MNP, a mobile number and network operator don’t correlate. This leads to maintaining an MNP database. Then a call or SMS originates, and it queries the MNP database. Then routes to the serving operator. For example, if a subscriber is called, which is now an Airtel subscriber after MNP, before MNP, it was a Vodafone subscriber. The call first reaches Vodafone, then an MNP database lookup is performed, and the call is routed to Airtel.