Over 38 lakh (3.8 million) customers opted for mobile number portability (MNP) – which allows users to switch operators while retaining their numbers – till the end of February, official data showed Wednesday.

The service was implemented across the country Jan 20, 2011 while the pilot launch of the service took place in Haryana Nov 25, 2010.

“As per the data reported by the service providers, by the end of February 2011, about 38.33 lakh subscribers have submitted their requests to different service providers for porting their mobile number,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in a statement.

Out of these requests, around 3.20 lakh were from Haryana, where the service was first implemented.

In the rest of the country, Gujarat reported the maximum number of requests, at 3.65 lakh subscribers.

Karnataka led the way in southern and eastern India with 3.18 lakh subscribers opting to change their operators.

To opt for MNP, a customer has to pay a maximum of Rs.19 to the new operator for “porting” the number and remain with the new operator for at least three months.

The customer has to send an SMS from the existing phone to 1900. Based on this, a unique porting code will be sent by existing provider. An application then has to be filed with the new service provider mentioning the code for transferring the connection.

The telecom regulator also said that it was constantly monitoring the implementation of MNP in the country. According to it, the main reasons for rejection of port request were incorrect unique porting codes, non-completion of the mandatory three-month stay and existing contractual obligations and dues.

In view of the large number of rejections and complaints, TRAI is also in the process of verifying the correctness of the port rejections by the service providers on a sample basis, the statement said.

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