TRAI, Telecom regulatory authority of India, has come out with a new set of guidelines to make it easier for consumer to port. A key directive is that operators should not reject mobile number portability (MNP) request if the amount due from the customer is Rs10 or less (rounded off to the nearest rupee). The amount can be adjusted in the customer’s next bill.
So far, companies have reportedly been rejecting porting requests over outstanding dues of as little as 13 paise. Another reason for porting requests being denied is ‘contractual obligation’, particularly in the case of premium or vanity numbers. Now, TRAI has ruled that ”since numbering is allocated free of charge by the licensor, service providers are not justified in putting any condition for retaining premium numbers under the garb of contractual obligation.”
Contractual obligation can be ground of rejection only if, a post-paid connection has come bundled with the handset with an exit clause and the subscriber has not complied with the clause or if it is a corporate connection with an exit clause and the subscriber does not comply with it.
“Our figures reveal that about 20-25 per cent of the requests are not being ported. The reasons given are contractual obligations, outstanding dues, and then the number not being properly recorded, etc. We have given a direction yesterday and that will ease the matter quite a lot,” TRAI chairman J S Sarma told newspersons in New Delhi on Wednesday.
TRAI has given the operators 10 days to report compliance to the authority’s directive.
According to TRAI data released in March, the number of unsatisfied mobile phone users crossed 38 lakh by the end of February, with Gujarat reporting the highest number of customers willing to change their service provider.The figures, submitted to TRAI by the telecom companies, reveal that the number of cellphone users who have chosen to avail mobile number portability has hit the 1 crore mark in the four-and-a half months since the service was launched.
They show that Vodafone Essar has been the biggest gainer under this facility. As on 24 May, Vodafone recorded a net gain of 591,600 new customers.
This was followed by the Idea Cellular (590,343) and Bharti Airtel (563,460).