Mobile Number Portability at Rs 19

New Delhi: You can now switch your cellphone provider without changing your cell phone number. It'll cost you Rs 19 and you're guaranteed the change in less than a week. (Mobile Number Portability: Will you switch?)

Mobile Number Portability across India was launched formally by the Prime Minister on Thursday evening. Describing telecom as one of India's great success stories, Dr Manmohan Singh stressed that India adds an average of 50 million new cellphone subscribers a month.

"More Indians have been touched by this revolution than any other program in the history of our nation," he said.

Telecom Minister said he has proved that the customer is king.

How to switch

To switch operators, Type PORT, leave a space, type your mobile number and text it to 1900. You will receive a reply from 1901 with a unique code and date.

You then have to submit your identity proof, address proof, and photograph with the code to the service provider you want, by the date given to you.

In the next seven days, the master clearing house will check if you have any outstanding dues and then process your request. Your new service will then start on your old number.

Restrictions include a minimum stay of three months and the subscriber can't change the circle. Portability began in November 2010 in Haryana.

What Operators say

Bharti Airtel, India's largest cellular operator says it is confident of retaining its customer base. "I think the customer at the high end is very discerning and is looking at sustainibility and therefore large networks,innovative services,bringing in value addition life enriching services are all going to play a very vital role." said CEO Sanjay Kapoor.