Acting on a complaint filed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the regulatory body of the telecom sector in the country, a Delhi court summoned the top executives of popular mobile service providers in the country – Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Loop Mobiles. The TRAI in their complaint had alleged that the three companies had violated TRAI’s norms on Mobile Number Portability (MNP). The regulatory body, which has been very vocal in the past about operators’ adherence to the MNP norms, found that the aforementioned operators were rejecting the porting requests of their subscribers, across various circles like Mumbai, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and others, thereby causing inconvenience. The TRAI, reportedly, filed separate complaints against each of these three operators.
Porting worries! (Image credit: Getty Images)
Reportedly, now, the top executives of the three mobile operators who were issued summons include – Bharti Airtel's CEO Sanjay Kapoor, its Director (legal and regulatory Affairs), Jyoti Pawar and Vice President (regulatory affairs and mobile services), Ashwani Rana. While those from Idea Cellular Ltd., included its Managing Director, Himanshu Kapania and its Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Rajat K Mukarji. Also, the Managing Director, Sandip Basu and Chief Regulatory Officer, Harish Kapoor of Loop Mobiles (India) Ltd. These top executives have been issued summons by the Delhi court, and have been directed to make an appearance on May 25th, before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Vinod Yadav. Quoting Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Vinod Yadav, the report further stated that, “In my considered opinion, there is enough material on record to proceed against the accused persons for violation of the TRAI regulation. Let accused persons be summoned.”
If that wasn't a blow enough, then the report also quotes TRAI counsel, Saket Singh as saying that not only did the accused operators reject the porting requests of their respective subscribers, they also did not provide the details sought by the TRAI, while the latter attempted to look into the matter.
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has been one telecom sector’s most sought after and subsequently controversial moves. While the portability option received a thumbs up from the user community, instances of porting requests being rejected left a bitter taste to some. TRAI, for one, as mentioned earlier, has been highly vocal about their stance on MNP in India. For one, the TRAI declared that no donor operator could accept withdrawal or cancellation of porting requests, which it receives from a subscriber, either in a written form, or through an SMS or a voice call. The body further aimed to discourage the practice by announcing that such a practice is illegal, since there is no such provision.
Recent reports mapping the performance of MNP in India, we had found that there were just several instances, wherein operators were found rejecting subscriber requests for MNP. In fact, one of our reports in mid-December revealed that Bharti Airtel, reportedly rejected maximum number of porting requests – 893, followed by Vodafone (792), Idea Cellular (313), Reliance Communications (307), Tata Teleservices (149), and Loop (134).
Despite such disappointing instances, we know that the MNP has seen better days, too. Our report in the fag end of January, this year revealed that MNP has been a hit with the subscribers. So much so, that by the end of December, last year, the TRAI had plotted a whopping 29 million subscribers opting for the service.