How Mobile Number Portability Works

Keywords: Mobile Number Portability. MNP, Service Provider Portability, Location Portability,Service Portability

Since the launch of Mobile Number Portability in India, I was wondering how all this work?  Finally I got the answer. In this post I am going to share what I learn regarding Mobile Number Portability a.k.a MNP. I’ll use MNP in rest of the post for the term Mobile Number Portability.

Mobile Number Portability– It enables mobile users to retain their mobile numbers when changing service providers, service providers, service types and locations.

Three types of MNP are being defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force. These are:

 1. Service Provider Portability: This portability provides flexibility to mobile users to retain their mobile number when switching to one service provider to another in the same area. 

2. Location Portability: This portability provides flexibility to mobile users to retain their mobile number when shifting from one geographic location to another location.

3. Service Portability: This portability provides flexibility to mobile users to retain their mobile number when switching from one service type to another. For example from GSM to CDMA and vice versa.

Depending upon a mobile user’s need, he/she can choose any combination of above three.

To implement MNP, Service providers need to maintain either Centralised Database or Decentralised Database.

  1. Centralised Database: In this only one database is being maintained and access by all the service providers.
  2.  Decentralised Database:  In this each service provider maintains its own portability database.

It’s better to know few terminologies  related to MNP, before explaining the implementation approaches for MNP.

S.N.          Term                                                          Meaning
1. Donor Service provider from whose network the mobile user is porting out.
2. Recipient Service provider who will be providing services to the mobile user after porting.
3. Number Portability Database Database of all the ported numbers to provide a unique routing number in response to a query from any network operator.
4. Routing Number A unique number stored in the Number Portability Database, used to route the call to the Recipient.

MNP can be implemented by following one of the given approaches:

  1.  Signaling relay approach: This approach utilizes the decentralised database to implement MNP.   The Donor service provider identifies the Recipient and routes the call to Recipient’s network. The originating network receives a call from the caller and route the call to the Donor. If the Donor finds that called number has been ported then it routes the call to it’s respective Recipient.
  2.  All-call-query approach: This approach utilizes centralised database to implement MNP.   The originating network directly queries the central database to determine the routing number to transfer the call to Recipient.

Beside above two approaches, there are other approaches exists like Direct Relay and Signaling Relay using location routing number approach. Both approaches are inefficient for MNP so not discussed here.

In this way Mobile Number Portability Works.

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10 Thoughts to “How Mobile Number Portability Works”

  1. Markus Brinlee

    My brother recommended I might like this blog. He used to be totally right. This submit truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  2. Anonymous

    Nice Information

  3. PAUL

    If I had a subscription from operator A and then ported to operator B, and years later I decide to go back to operator A, will my MSISDN be removed from the NP database? Asking this since once I am back to the original operator who owns the number range I don’t want multiple hops like checking in central database etc. to check for MNP and induce latency in call routing when someone else tries to reach me.

  4. Anonymous

    kya baat!!!!!

    gaurav mahajan

  5. smridhi koul

    It’s.really good…

  6. Anonymous

    really good one…

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