State-owned telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) has emerged as the leading net gainer from Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in the Andhra Pradesh telecom circle.

Mobile Number Portability, the facility that enables subscribers to change over to their operator of choice while retaining their existing mobile number was finally, after much delay, thrown open to the public early this year.

Even though BSNL has had one of the lowest call and messaging rates in the country, it has failed to gain a huge number of subscribers over the years. Having been the first carrier in the country to introduce 3G services, this public sector giant has tried to attract customers by bringing in a variety of offers, but has never had any success — mostly due to the fact that subscribers are never willing to change their numbers.

However, the tides seems to have turned after the launch of MNP. Within 2 months of the launch of MNP, BSNL has had a net gain of 39,193 customers in the Andhra Pradesh telecom circle. A whopping 55,887 customers migrated to BSNL, compared to the 16,714 who migrated from BSNL to other networks. Bharti Airtel came in second, gaining 15,400 new subscribers.

In a letter dispatched to all the Chief General Managers (CGMs) in the 26 telecom circles in the country, the top brass at BSNL’s HQ in New Delhi say, “Andhra Pradesh telecom circle has been registering net gains after MNP… It is proved that BSNL circles can turn the tables on competition, provided each of our employees are involved,”

The scenario for BSNL in the rest of the telecom circles is in stark contrast to their success in Andhra Pradeh. A total of 459,804 customers have migrated from BSNL to other networks, while only 171,582 have migrated to BSNL with Punjab and Haryana circles losing the most number of customers.

Reliance Communications, Vodafone and Tata (CDMA) saw the most number of subscribers porting away to other carriers with each losing 18,995, 16,578 and 15,683 subscribers respectively.