Allow port out SMS facility irrespective of tariff offer: Trai

The direction follows a complaint by Reliance Jio, which had alleged that both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel were creating barriers for subscribers who want to port out, by not offering outgoing SMS facility in lower-denomination pre-paid plans.

It is imperative to mention here that all the three private mobile operators have recently increased pre-paid tariffs by 20% to 25%. (Representative image)
It is imperative to mention here that all the three private mobile operators have recently increased pre-paid tariffs by 20% to 25%. (Representative image)

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday directed all telecom operators to enable the facility for sending SMS for porting out, irrespective of the value of the tariff vouchers.

The direction follows a complaint by Reliance Jio, which had alleged that both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel were creating barriers for subscribers who want to port out, by not offering outgoing SMS facility in lower-denomination pre-paid plans.

“The Authority is of the view that this practice of non-provision of the facility of sending MNP (mobile number portability) related SMS in certain pre-paid vouchers/plans is in contravention of the provisions of MNP regulations, as it takes away the consumer’s right, provided for in the regulations, to avail mobile number portability facility,” Trai said in the direction issued to all operators.

It is imperative to mention here that all the three private mobile operators have recently increased pre-paid tariffs by 20% to 25%.

After the hike, the minimum plan which offers outgoing SMS facility comes for Rs 179 for Vodafone Idea whereas Bharti Airtel’s lowest denomination plan with outgoing SMS facility comes for Rs 128.

Reliance Jio offers SMS facility in all its plans.

Trai in the recent past had said that it has received various complaints from subscribers for not being able to send SMS on short code 1900, specified for UPC generation for availing MNP facility despite having sufficient balance in their pre-paid accounts.

As per the MNP regulations, every mobile operator shall facilitate in its entire network, mobile number portability to all subscribers, both pre-paid and post-paid and shall, upon request, provide the same on a non-discriminatory basis.

The sub-regulation (1) of regulation 5 of MNP rules provides that every operator shall set up, in its mobile network, a mechanism for the purpose of receiving SMS from its subscribers requesting for a unique porting code and forwarding the same to the MNP zone to which the mobile number belongs.

On December, 3, 2010, Trai had directed all operators to treat the SMS sent to short code number 1900 as ordinary SMS for the purpose of charging and the rate for such SMS shall not exceed the tariff applicable for ordinary SMS under the tariff plan opted by the subscriber.

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