Mobile number portability

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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 varying ways across the globe. The International and European standard specifies that a customer wishing to port their number 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. By contrast, the UK and India are the only exceptions to implement a "donor-led" system. In the case of a donor-led system, the customer wishing to port their number is required to contact the donor to obtain a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) in the UK— or a 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.

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.[ citation needed ] 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.[ needs update ]

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 quickly as 20 minutes in the Republic of Ireland, 3 minutes in Australia, and 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, an 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 TelQTest Wiki. MNP map by implementation time.png
MNP map by implementation time

MNP is important for the telecom markets because it removes a hurdle to switching that might keep those with much equity in the number— in particular 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

CountryImplementation date
Time to port
PriceShort notesReferences
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 2010.08.171–5 days ARS 5 [4] The plan started in August 2010 [5]
Flag of Bolivia.svg  Bolivia 2018.10.011freeThe process take more working days on post paid services [6] [7]
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 2008.09.010–3freeThe plan started in March 2007 [8]
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 2007.03.140freeMNP procedure takes 10–20 minutes.
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 2011.07.290freeOn July 1, 2020 the time taken for the MNP procedure to take effect was reduced from 3 days to under 24 hours, the customer might also pick a specific date for the MNP procedure be carried out. [9] [10] [11]
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 2012.01.161freeThe process takes place overnight. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies [12]
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic 2009.09.303–10free [13]
Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador 2009.10.124freeASCP handled by Systor, Telconet and JR Electric Supply
Flag of El Salvador.svg  El Salvador 2015.08.240freeThe NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon Datapro, administrated by Mediafon Datapro and "imCard S.A. de C.V." . MNP procedure takes up to 8 hours, FNP – 3 days. [14] [15]
Flag of Honduras (darker variant).svg  Honduras 2014.04.300freeMNP procedure takes 1 hour.
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 2008.07.05


In 2019 September Mediafon de Mexico successfully replaced old solution by modern Numlex NPCDB platform.

Previously service handled by Telcordia Technologies and Neoris

Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay 2012.11.30Up to 8 working daysfreeMNP can take up to 8 working days but usually takes no longer than 1–2 working days. Switching occurs between 1am and 5am.
Flag of Peru.svg  Peru 2010.01.017–9freesim card of the new mobile company that will cost around 15 PEN.
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 2003.11.240freeMNP procedure takes 2 hours.

Central Asia

CountryImplementation date
Time to port
PriceShort notesReferences
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 2016.01.015freeThe NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon Datapro, administrated by national NPCDB Administrator.

Asia Pacific

CountryImplementation date
Time to port
PriceShort notesReferences
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 2001.09.250freePreviously 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 charge a fee for porting out. MNP takes around 10 to 20 minutes
Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh 2018.10.017$0.43

50 BDT Fee and 200 BDT SIM replacement Tax and VAT.Total amount is 256 BDT.

Number portability is available nationwide, "Infozillion BD-Teletech Consortium" provided the MNP. 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. Similarly, after porting to a new provider the number would be locked in for 90 days.

GrameenPhone, Robi, Airtel-bd, Banglalink all operator can port own Number.

The duration for the process is 7 days and the time a number is deactivated for portability is about 2 hours.

Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong 1999.03.012freeService 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. [19]
Flag of India.svg  India 2011.01.202 [20] ₹4Number portability is available nationwide, [21] 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. Similarly, after porting to a new provider the number would be locked in for 90 days

The duration for the process is 2 days and the time a number is deactivated for portability is about 2 hours.


[23] [24]

Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 2006.10.241JPY 3000 [25] [26]
Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 2008.10.011free1 day is a minimum time necessary for porting. Number Portability Clearinghouse service handled by Telcordia Technologies [27] [28] [29] [30]
Flag of Maldives.svg  Maldives 2016.03.102MVR 200Number 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.


[32] [33]

Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 2007.04.01 [34]
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 2007.03.234freeCustomers 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, [35] the joint venture of all the cellular companies of Pakistan.−9368493445
Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 2019.07.02 (ONGOING)2free [36]
Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 2008.06.131freeCustomers are not able to port between prepay and post pay options. Vendor for database installation is Syniverse Technologies [37]
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 2004.07.12 [38] [34]
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Taiwan 2005.10.131 NTD 112 [39] [40]
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 2010.12.152freeNumber Portability Clearinghouse service is handled by Telcordia Technologies. 2 days can be just working days. [41]
Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam 2018.11.16 (postpaid)

2019.01.01 (prepaid)

260,000 VND (postpaid)

50,000 VND (prepaid)



CountryImplementation date
Time to port
PriceShort notesReferences
Flag of Albania.svg  Albania 2010.12.22TBATBAAgreement 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. [43]
Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 2014.04.01
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 2004.10.163 EUR 10
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 2013.08.013FreeFrom 1 January 2013 NPCDB in Azerbaijan is administrated by Mediafon Datapro, the company of Mediafon group, which has won international rebid for NPCDB administration in Azerbaijan in 2013.

Mediafon Datapro successfully replaced old solution by modern Numlex NPCDB platform.

, [44] [45]
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 2012.02.011Free
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 2002.10.012FreeThe 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 Orange
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 2008.04.112 EUR 2.56
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 2006.10.0155 days is maximum possible period necessary for porting a number. Service handled by HAKOM.
Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus 2004.07.??2Free [46]
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechia 2006.01.154Before 2013-09-01 it was 30 days to transfer, now just 4 days [47]
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 2001.07.??1 DKK 0–29The central solutions is called OCH – Operators Clearing House. Before 2009 it was 30–60 days to transfer number, now just 1 day [48]
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 2005.01.017
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 2003.07.255FreeHandled by the company Numpac [49]
Flag of France.svg  France 2003.06.303FreeHeavily improved since November 2011 with a 3-days maximum lead time (was taking 2 months in most cases before 2007, then 10 days) [50]
Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia 2011.01.01FreeFrom 1 January 2017 NPCDB in Georgia is administrated by Mediafon Datapro, the company of Mediafon group, which has won international rebid for NPCDB administration in Georgia in 2016. Mediafon Datapro successfully replaced old solution by modern Numlex NPCDB platform. [34]
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 2002.11.016 EUR 25The 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. [51] [52]
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 2003.09.??3FreeService handled by Telcordia Technologies
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 2004.05.018Free
Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland 2004.10.0110Free10 days is maximum possible period. Service handled by Telcordia Technologies
Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 2003.07.250FreeFull mobile number portability in Ireland is a very simple and rapid process, driven by the customer. The request is made to the new operator, then automatically confirmed by SMS or a voice call using a code. It normally completes within a few minutes. Many operators can process requests automatically online through their websites. Requests can occasionally take longer, but usually no more 24 hours. Volumes of ported mobile numbers are reported in the Comreg quarterly report [3] Before 2003, partial mobile number portability was available. Customers retained the last 7-digits of their mobile number, but changed operator prefix. Callers to the old prefix would hear an automatic announcement advising them of the new number. This service was introduced in 1997 and replaced by full portability in 2003. Where an Irish number is ported, mobile callers will hear a 'chirp' tone if they are calling a number that is not on its original network. This alerts them that call charges other networks may apply.

Service handled by PortingXS via the Inports Number Portability System.

Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 2002.04.011free (1 to 1.6 € if the subscriber wants to transfer their 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.
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 2007.??.??10Free
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania 2004.01.0128From 2016.01.01 (after rebid in 2015) NPCDB administrator VsI "Numerio perkelimas" manages NPCDB solution NUMLEX developed and installed by Mediafon.

Time to port – 1 day

Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg 2005.02.011Managed by the G.I.E Telcom E.I.G. operator group and developed, installed and operated by Systor Trondheim AS.
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 2005.07.3104 hours is a period necessary to port a number.
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova 2013.07.015–30FreeService handled by Mediafon Datapro. The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed, installed and supported by Mediafon Datapro, administrated by national NPCDB Administrator "NP Base" [53]
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 1999.04.??3 [54]
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia 2008.09.01The reference database was developed, installed and is operated by Seavus Group.
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 2001.04.015NOK 0 – 200Administrated by the National Reference Database (NRDB). The reference database was developed, installed and is operated by Systor Trondheim AS.
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 2006.02.??FreeTo 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.
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 2002.01.015–10Free [55] Operated by Portabil S.A. Solution implemented by Systor Trondheim AS of Norway.
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 2008.10.213 [56] FreeDeveloped by UTI Systems based on the Porthus implementation [57]
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 2013.12.018 [58] RUR 0–100 [59] [60] The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon Datapro, 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.
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 2011.07.014 or lessRSD 0-200Mandatory for all mobile carriers, regulated by the Regulatory agency for electronic communications and postal services (RATEL). The fee, if needed, is paid to the recipient carrier. [61]
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 2004.05.014FreePortation request done in 5 days
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia 2005.12.315EUR 55 EUR is a maximum possible price
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 2000.10.??2Free [62] Central database managed through the AOPM (Asociación de Operadores para la Portabilidad Móvil).
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 2001.09.015–6 [63] [64] FreeThe largest operators formed independent company, SNPAC AB, to procure central database (CRDB) solution. Implementation of CRDB is carried out by Cap Gemini & Oracle.
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 2000.03.01 [65] 5Free [66]
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 2019.05.013 or lessFreeParticipants: 3Mob, Lifecell, Vodafone, Kyivstar, Intertelecom
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 2003.07.251FreeUsers in the United Kingdom are required to use a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) [67] [68]

Middle East and Africa

CountryImplementation date
Time to port
PriceShort notesReferences
Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain 2011.07.08FreeManaged by the Systor Cntral System.
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 2008.04.0724 hoursFree (may request 5 EGP for new MNP SIM fee), was charging 75 EGP beforeNPC 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 4 months of service to new operator. Porting to another operator, line should be at least 4 months old.
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 2011.07.07typically 5–10 min., max 24 hoursFreeCentral system operated by Porting Access Ghana, under authorisation from National Communications Authority
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 2016.07.103–5Free
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel 2007.12.03up-to 30 minutesFreeService includes landline as well as mobile numbers [69]
Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast 2018The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon Datapro.
Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan 2010.??.?? [34]
Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya 2011.??.??Free [34]
Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait 2013.06.151FreeThe Ministry of Telecommunications has launched the service on 2013-06-15. The project manager is the National Technology Enterprises Company
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 2019 ongoing deploymentIn 2019 Mediafon Datapro will successfully implement modern Numlex NPCDB platform.
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 2013.04.222FreeNCC (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 [70]
Flag of Oman.svg  Oman 2006.08.26Implemented as a decentralized solution by Porthus for Nawras, and by Gulf Business Machines/Telcordia for Oman Mobile.
Flag of Palestine.svg  Palestine 2020.09.201 hourFreeCannot revert to the existing operator before 3 months (for prepaid users)/6 months (for monthly bills users) of service to the new operator. [71] [72]
Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar 2013.01.31Maximum 1 working day - would be activated the successive dayFree, operator can impose SIM card charges if anyThe National Numbering Committee, established by ictQATAR has taken care of the MNP management. Currently both Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar allows Port in and Port out for Prepaid and Postpaid Services
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia 2006.07.08FreeManaged by the Centralized Clearinghouse Approach, through the NPC (Number Portability Clearinghouse), a product of Telcordia Technologies. The implementer and system integrator is Giza Arabia.
Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal 2015.09.01MNP goes nearly online, max −24 hoursFreeThe NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon Datapro, administrated by Mediafon Datapro and Comet Afrique Telecoms .

Only MNP.

Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 2006.11.10The 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.
Flag of Tanzania.svg  Tanzania 2017.03.01Free
Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia 2016The NP Central data base (NPCDB) "NUMLEX" was developed and installed by Mediafon Datapro, administrated by national NPCDB Administrator.
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 2008.11.092–6FreeAVEA 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. SIM replacement required.

See also

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