02/07/2015 11:00 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Airtel Ready For Mobile Number Portability, To Meet July 3 Deadline

TONY KARUMBA via Getty Images
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY OTTO BAKANO People walk past an advertisement for mobile- telecommunications service provider 'Airtel' on May 20, 2011 in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. India will seek to expand its economic footprint in Africa, where its rival China has made major inroads, at the second India-Africa summit next week in Addis Ababa. India's Bharti Airtel -- the world's fifth largest mobile phone company -- acquired the 16-African country unit of Kuwaiti telecom firm, Zain at a cost of $10.7 billion in 2010 when India's imports from Africa were worth $20.7 billion and its exports stood at $10.3 the same year even though China's trade with Africa remains far heftier. AFP PHOTO/Tony KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

The wait for national number portability is over. And Airtel, India's largest mobile operator, is stepping up.

National number portability allows customers to retain their phone numbers when they change states. Unlike the United States, Indian operators impose roaming charges when customers move from one state to another. That results in most customers applying for new SIM cards, which come with a new number and involves the hassle of furnishing fresh address proofs. From July 3, that will no longer be required.

Airtel says it is ready for the change. "We aim to empower customers and enable them to retain this identity as they move across anywhere in the country. To facilitate a seamless transition we will also allow our customers to enjoy free incoming on roaming while their number portability request is being processed," said Ajai Puri, Director, Market Operations at Airtel in a statement.

Number portability was slated for May 3, but was postponed by two months by the telecommunications ministry after the Cellular Operators Association of India requested for an extension. In that time, telecom operators were expected to make technical changes to enable the move. Rajan Mathews, COAI director general, has said the industry is now ready for the portability rollout.

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