The process of network port-out is set to become faster and simpler for mobile subscribers, as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India initiated the process to overhaul the mobile number portability (MNP) to remove the inconveniences faced by subscribers under the current port-out system. The TRAI has issued a discussion paper on reviewing the MNP process, which allows users to port out to network of other operators without changing the mobile number. TRAI has sought written comments from stakeholders by May 3, and has set May 17 as the deadline for counter comments on the issue.
The move comes at a time when closure of operations by some telecom operators has compelled their subscribers to opt for the MNP route. “Consequent upon closure/discontinuation of services, TRAI has received large number of complaints related to the difficulties faced by subscribers of these service providers in porting their mobile numbers,” the regulator said in a statement. TRAI said it is initiating a consultation paper covering all the existing issues with a view to “review and revamp” the existing process and make it more efficient and convenient for telecom subscribers.
At present, switching to another network with the same mobile number takes seven days but globally the process gets completed in a matter of hours, a TRAI official said, adding that the regulator aims to make the procedure more efficient, and also reduce the code errors that consumer may face, at times. Under the MNP regime, an individual can retain the existing mobile number while switching from one operator to another. The port outs or transfer of connection on some other network may happen due to an individual’s preference of another operator, or even involuntary where existing operator decides to close services. In the last few months, troubled operators such as Reliance Communications NSE 4.51 %, Tata Teleservices and Aircel have given their subscribers the option to port out to other networks under the MNP regime.
MNP charges is slashed from Rs. 19 to Rs. 4
Keeping in view upsurge in mobile number portability (MNP) requests, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to slash its rate to Rs 4 per successful porting from Rs 19 earlier. The TRAI arrived at the decision after taking into consideration the comments received from the industry stakeholders. A statement issued by the TRAI said it would come into effect from the date of official Gazette notification.
Under the MNP regime, a subscriber can retain the existing mobile telephone number while switching from one service provider to another or from one technology to another technology of the same service provider. It allows subscribers to retain their mobile number not only within the same Licensed Service Area (LSA) but also pan India in any LSA. After observing a significant decline in the per port transaction cost, the sectorial regulator decided to slash the price.
“After reviewing the financial results of both the MNP Service Providers and the upsurge in the volume of porting requests in the past two years, the Authority opined that the present charge of Rs. 19 is quite high as compared to cost and volumes of transaction involved,” the statement said.”In several instances, the operators were bearing this cost on behalf of the customers approaching them for the port-in. Hence, it will be beneficial for both customers and operators as the cost of porting will be greatly reduced,” said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators’ Association of India.
Mobile number portability requests in India decreases
Porting requests were submitted for 7.43 million connections in the month of December 2017, according to the Indian Telecom regulator TRAI. This is down 53.5% from 15.98 million porting requests reported in November 2017. For the month of December, the maximum number of requests in Zone-I (North and West India) were received in Maharashtra at 0.66 million, followed by Delhi at 0.63 million, and Rajasthan at 0.55 million. Jammu & Kashmir, which has one of the lowest user bases, continues to receive the lowest number of porting requests at 32,215. Note that TRAI does not provide any operator-wise breakdown for these mobile number porting requests.
In Zone-II (South and East India), Madhya Pradesh led with 0.75 million number porting requests till date, followed by Tamil Nadu which received 0.69 million requests, and Andhra Pradesh which received 0.48 million requests. The North East circle saw 16,899 number porting requests for the month, down from 35,181 requests in the previous month.
Note that last month, TRAI reduced the per port transaction charge for each successful Mobile Number Portability from Rs 19 to Rs 4. TRAI had capped the porting charge at Rs 19 in 2009, and operators were free to charge any amount less than this if they chose to.