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Last Updated : Mar 19, 2018 09:28 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Switching telcos may become faster as TRAI looks to tighten MNP norms

The process of network port-out is set to become faster and simpler for mobile subscribers, as TRAI plans to initiate a review of Mobile Number Portability.

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is keen to revise norms on mobile number portability, making them more user-friendly while reducing scope for companies to decline requests from customers, according to an official familiar with the development. The regulator is likely to issue a consultation paper soon on the matter.

While the process for porting out a pre-paid number is generally smooth since the customer has no outstanding payment towards his existing services provider, the process in case of a post-paid number tends to be tricky and, at times, a source of harassment for the user who is keen to port out. The regulator is now looking to weed out these issues to make it more efficient and customer friendly.

The regulator will issue, by the month-end, a consultation paper that will look at reducing the time taken to switch from one network to another under MNP, and will also seek to simplify the entire process, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma.

"We will be bringing a consultation paper on expediting MNP. Today, the process takes time. The consultation paper will be aimed at reducing that time and changing the processes. We are currently working on it and will issue it by the month-end," Sharma told PTI.

“It takes seven working days, you can say nine days in all, to port out a number. TRAI would like to bring that period down,” an official told Moneycontrol.

There are situations when the existing services provider, on one pretext or another, refuses to port out the number despite all dues being paid and all formalities being completed. On receiving complaints from the user, the regulator penalises the offender. Often, this is not enough as a lot of consumers are unaware of who to approach in such a situation. TRAI’s consultation paper would seek to get feedback on plugging room for such occurrences, the official said.

Under the review proposed, Trai will seek industry's views on how the entire MNP process can be made faster, simpler and more foolproof for telecom subscribers.

Mobile number portability has met with reasonable success in India where connectivity is still poor and call drops frequent, particularly in metros. Even in areas where old, established companies claim to have high-speed 4G services, it is the 2G signal that is mostly available.

According to data available on TRAI website, a total of 7.43 million requests were received for mobile number portability during December last year. With this, such requests cumulatively increased to 338.41 million since intra-service area mobile number portability was implemented first in Haryana in November 2010. Inter-service area portability was effected in July 2015. There are 22 services areas or circles in the country.
First Published on Mar 19, 2018 09:00 am
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