Number portability: What telcos are offering

NEW Delhi, January 25 (Agencies): Telecom firms have launched a major advertising, marketing and promotional blitz to attract new and existing customers after the government launched a pan-India scheme that allows them to switch operators while retaining the numbers. State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), for e.g., has waived the porting charges and is offering a SIM card free of cost along with an additional talk value of Rs.100 for pre-paid customers who switch to their service from other operators.
Post-paid customers moving to BSNL will get 50% rebate on their first bill. Idea Cellular, the first telecom operator which started campaigning for the service, has not announced any special offers for the customers, but it is making its presence with its round the clock “No Idea, Get Idea” campaigns. However, the industry biggie, Bharti Airtel, has not gone full throttle on promotional campaigns. The company is restricting itself to a few offers like the “Airtel surprise” for customers who switch to its network free talktime, special call rates and free SMS.
Vodafone, known for its distinct advertising campaigns, too is not as aggressive as Idea. Its “everybody’s welcome” television commercials are cute and feature the face of its promotional activities -- a pug. One of the biggest players in the industry, Reliance Communications has also launched a slew of television ad campaigns to promote its network and attract customers after the launch of number portability service across the country. New telecom players such as Tata DoCoMo have also started campaigns with tags such as “Welcome to the world of freedom, welcome to the world of Tata DoCoMo.”
To make it easy for the customers to port into their networks, the operators have also created helpline numbers. The customer has to send an SMS from the existing phone to 1900. Based on this, a unique porting code will be sent by existing provider. An application then has to be filed with the new service provider mentioning the code for transferring the connection.