Porting your mobile number to another operator is set to become faster and easier as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released the draft for Mobile Number Portability (MNP) recommendations. Earlier this year, TRAI has issued a consultation paper to review the mobile number portability process to resolve inconveniences being faced by customers. According to the new draft guidelines on MNP, TRAI has proposed to reduce the time taken by the 'Donor Operator' to give a clearance to porting requests within the same circle to two days from four days right now. It has also proposed a financial disincentive "not more than Rs. 10,000" for each wrongful rejection of the request for porting.
As per the Draft Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2018, made public on Tuesday by TRAI, there are some major changes to the entire MNP process. As of now, subscribers have to wait for 4 days to get their numbers ported from one service provider to another. The telecom regulator has called for making the process quicker by cutting down the processing time of porting requests within a circle down to two days. However, the processing time for porting requests from one circle to another is still four days.
In order to make the MNP process more hassle-free, TRAI has also mandated two financial disincentives for telcos that fail to follow the new rules. The telecom regulator noted that companies will have to pay a penalty of up to Rs. 5,000 per contravention of rules that require them to adhere to the new timeline. When a subscriber sends an MNP request, the operator will have to forward the request to MNP service provider who will then verify the eligibility of the subscriber for porting and issue the code on a real-time basis. They will have to send the details of subscribers to MNP service provider within 24 hours of a porting request.
Additionally, customers will have to be notified via SMS about the process being initiated. Notably, TRAI has proposed to reduce the validity period of the Unique Porting Code generated from four working days to two working days.The validity of UPC for the licence service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East, and Assam will remain unchanged (15 working days). The subscriber is needed to share the UPC with the telecom operator to which the number need to be ported, and the recipient operator will have to share the code with MNPSP for further process.
Notably, the penalty has been increased to Rs. 10,000 for "each wrongful rejection" of porting requests by an operator. The telecom regulator said, "In order to discourage the wrongful rejections of the porting requests and adherence to the timelines specified for the various tasks, the provisions of financial disincentives have been made." It added, "In the changed process, it is important that wrongful rejections and providing false/wrongful information by donor operator… are to be discouraged. Therefore, in order to protect the interest of mobile subscribers, such contraventions of regulations shall be subject to scrutiny and the imposition of the financial disincentives, if applicable."
Until now, MNP requests are processed without evaluating the eligibility conditions. Subscribers get to know about the rejection only after completion of four days. Trai in the draft noted that "porting code mismatch" and "invalid/ expired codes" resulted in roughly 40 percent of total MNP porting requests. TRAI said that it has made the changes to the MNP Procedure because of the high number of rejections faced by subscribers. It said, "Analysis of the reports for the period — April, 2016 to March, 2017 indicates that average rejection of porting requests by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) in all the categories was about 11.16 percent (total rejections average per month is about 5.87 lakh) and rejections on the grounds of 'UPC Mismatch' and 'UPC expired' constituted about 40 percent of the total rejections."