TRAI issues notices to Indian telcos

by CXO staff    Aug 19, 2011

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued notices to leading operators for violating mobile number portability (MNP) regulations.

Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Loop, Reliance Communications and Vodafone have been overcharging and preventing customers from changing their service provider, according to the telecom ministry.

“TRAI has received complaints from customers regarding wrong rejection of porting requests by telecom operators. TRAI has initiated action by issuing show cause notices to service providers for violation of MNP Regulations 2009,” said Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications and IT, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The ministry said that it also came to know that customers have been charged Rs.10 for a message for requesting porting code through number 1900. To exercise MNP, the user has to obtain a Unique Porting Code (UPC) by sending an SMS to 1900.

MNP service was launched in January this year. It allowed customers to switch operators while retaining numbers.

TRAI had issued a direction on Dec 2, 2010 to all Cellular Mobile Telephone Service Providers and Unified Access Service Providers prohibiting extra charges for messages sent to 1900.

In order to reduce the porting rejections by the service providers, TRAI had also issued direction to the operators on May 24, 2011, specifying that rejection under contractual obligation can be done only if the post-paid connection comes with a handset with a contractual obligation having an exit clause and the subscriber has not complied with the same.

The Telecom Subscription Data as on 30 June 2011, released by TRAI indicates that MNP requests have increased from 105.70 lakh subscribers at the end of May 2011 to 129.85 lakh subscribers at the end of June 2011.

Since the launch of MNP, BSNL lost 9,33,750 subscribers to private players, while only 3,49,489 users joined it. In case of MTNL that operates in Delhi and Mumbai circles, 67,198 of its subscribers opted for private players, while only 11,593 switched to its services under MNP.

Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Airtel have emerged as most preferred mobile service operators in terms of MNP.

Idea gained the highest number of MNP customers with 7.44 lakh new subscribers (as of May 30). Vodafone’s net gain of MNP customers reached at 6.91 lakh while Airtel gained 6.20 lakh new subscribers via MNP.