TRAI Sends Showcause Notices To Telcos For Flouting MNP

19 Aug, 2011

The country's apex telecom regulator, Telephone Regulatory Authority of India, has issued show cause notices Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Loop Telecom, Reliance Communications and Vodafone, for violating mobile number portability regulations, the telecom ministry said on Wednesday.

"TRAI has received complaints from some customers regarding wrong rejection of porting requests by telecom operators. They also came to know through media regarding Rs 10 being charged for a message (SMS) for requesting porting code through number '1900'," Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

Customers claimed that they were prevented by their service providers from switching to another service provider and that telcos were charging Rs 10 for text messages sent to 1900, which allows users to receive their porting code. According to a TRAI guideline dated December 3, 2010, all Cellular Mobile Telephone Service Providers and Unified Access Service Providers were prohibited from charging extra for SMSs sent to the short code 1900.

On the outstanding bill payment while switching the service provider, TRAI said that it is specified that if the outstanding payment due from the subscriber, in the previous paid bill, is less than Rs 10, then the service provider may include the same in the subsequent bill of the subscriber without any penal charges.

By June end, an estimated 1.3 crore mobile subscribers had submitted requests to switch their service provider while retaining their phone numbers. As many as 25 lakh people opted for mobile number portability (MNP) in the month of June itself, according to telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI). The most number of MNP requests came from the state of Gujarat state followed by Maharashtra.

India is the fastest growing cellphone market in the world with more than 598.77 million GSM subscribers. India has added 8.58 million new GSM connections during June, according to the data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).