Who"s davidlian?

My photo
davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Debunking the FUD on Mobile Number Portability

Yes, you can now switch to DiGi and still keep your 012 (Maxis) number. Or vice-versa. And no, it will not incur extra charges or hidden cost to your subscription package.

I'm writing this because so many people have asked me and come to me with the impression that switching from your DiGi line to Maxis will make all your calls out and receiving calls more expensive.

Mobile Number Portability Post - Share on Ovi

Well, here's the good news. No it doesn't. Mobile Number Portability in the simplest terms means that mobile phone number prefixes (012, 016, 019 etc.) are no longer tied to specific telcos. So, you could subscribe to Maxis and keep your 019 number for example. Similarly, you can be on DiGi with a 012 number.

Then why do people say, or you read in the newspapers, that it may cost your friends more to call you if you switch telcos using MNP?

Here's the scenario to explain:

Let's say you and your friend are both currently on Maxis. Calls between Maxis numbers are RM 0.12 per minute (for ValuePlus50) so that's the rate you currently enjoy. One day, you decided to switch to DiGi but through MNP, keep your 012XXXXXXX number. After you've switched, your friend who's still on Maxis calls you and starts getting charged RM 0.18 per minute because you are no longer a Maxis subscriber even though you have a 012 number. This is exactly the same as if you had switched to DiGi, taken a 016 number and he was calling you.

Likewise, if you had switched to DiGi but maintained your 012 number, you will get the better rate for calling other DiGi subscribers (not necessarily 016 only anymore) but will no longer get the lower rate for calling Maxis customers even though you have a "012" number.

Makes sense?

I guess for some time, there will be some fear, uncertainty and doubt over this whole MNP thing, but it really doesn't cost you more to switch providers. And that's the important part, because it means we have that little bit more of power to choose the better service provider without fear of losing our cherished mobile numbers.

So, I say, go forth and let the switching begin!


Gray said...

this has apparently been in place for some time elsewhere in the world... personally i find it better since i have a "permanent" number. and my friends couldn't really be bothered with which mobile network i'm subscribed to. (so the network your friends subscribe to won't affect your decision which to use, no peer presure, equal oppurtunity for networks.)

davidlian said...

Indeed. In Australia for example, when I studied there the number didn't necessarily tell people which network you were on.

I just wonder where all this rumours of "hidden charges" came about from. People all around me fear it.

ShaolinTiger said...

It's been implemented in other countries for a long time.

Actually it was underway here for quite some time too but you can imagine the individual telcos weren't too happy about it due to higher risk of 'churn'.

People who wanted to keep their number had to stay with the behemoth telco despite horrible customer service.

Now though it's a competitive field again, whoever has the best packages will get the customers to switch over.

Same in UK btw, mobile numbers are like 07909 - it doesn't tell you which network it's from.

Huai Bin said...

Yeah I wrote about MNP for work recently, a lot of people didn't understand it and fear hidden charges. It's just like the scenario you explained e.g. a 016 number may not be a DiGi number anymore and therefore it might cost more for a DiGi subscriber to call to that number if it belongs to Maxis.

I would love to see telcos coming up with flat rate to all telcos packages, AFAIK, only Happy does that and it's not really a plan for working people. More for students really.

davidlian said...

@ST: That's the same hope I have for MNP - to have more competition and better rates for the consumer. But as long as people aren't clear about what MNP does and doesn't do, it'll take a while for that to happen.

@HB: Ya, flat rates between telcos would be a logical next step. How to implement though, is a problem, because of the imbalance of traffic (calls) between networks mean that it's difficult for everyone to offer the same rate.

voch said...

Have you switched yours? :D