It was recently brought to the Parliament's notice that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has so far not penalised operators for rejecting MNP requests. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Communications and IT, Milind Deora, said, “Under these regulations till date no penalty/fine is imposed on any of the service providers by TRAI.”
Last year in September, the telecom regulator had issued its Telecommunications Mobile Number Portability (Fourth Amendment) regulations, 2012. The regulations stated that fines would be imposed upon telcos rejecting porting requests arbitrarily. The circular came into effect 60 days from the date of publication.
The TRAI issued its circular after it received complaints from subscribers about their porting requests being rejected on various grounds. “On examination, it was noted that rejection of porting requests of the subscribers done by the service providers in several cases were not in accordance with the regulation,” Deora said.
Arbitrary rejections reported (Image credit: Getty Images)
He added that the maximum number of rejections between November 2010 and February 25, 2013 took place against Bharti Airtel (37,16,966), Vodafone (27,63,957), Idea/Spice (21,05,882), Tata Teleservices (GSM) (8,74,468), Aircel (8,21,917) and Reliance Com (GSM) (8,00,567).
Although Mobile Number Portability has been one of the most appreciated moves taken by the telecom industry, it has also been the one with the most hiccups. TRAI revealed last year that since launch, the “percentage of rejections of the porting requests of subscriber is very high.”
The body revealed that several donor operators (the operator you're currently associated with, and want to quit) were found to be rejecting several porting requests by taking in cancellation requests, either in a written form or through an SMS or a voice call from the subscriber. This is illegal, since there is no such provision in the regulations that allow a donor operator to accept withdrawal or cancellation of porting requests.
It therefore directed all telcos who are “acting as Donor Operator, not to entertain any request from the subscriber for the cancellation or withdrawal of porting request and not to request a porting request except on the grounds mentioned under regulation 12 of the regulations.” TRAI has also made it clear that the service providers can “issue necessary instructions to all the concerned officials within Forty eight hours and submit compliance report of this Direction to the Authority within seven days.”