Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is mulling to make the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) process less cumbersome for the customers. In a draft, TRAI has issued recommendations that will reduce the time taken in the MNP process to just two days within the same circle from the four-day-long duration practised currently. The draft outlines that the operator that customer is leaving from should respond by giving the clearance within two days, as opposed to four days taken presently. TRAI has also mandated penalty for the telcos that do not adhere to the porting timeline guidelines.
In the draft amendment regulations, TRAI has said that in all the circles, except Jammu & Kashmir, Northeast states, and Assam where the time usually taken is around 15 days, the stipulated timeline for the entire process of MNP to be finished is seven days. The porting requests that reach the ‘Donor Operator’ are processed without evaluating the eligibility and after four days, the operator rejects the request on grounds of unqualified criteria. TRAI has proposed that this time should be cut down to two days, given that the eligibility of the porting request should be checked beforehand and the UPC (Unique Porting Code) be generated thereafter. In case there is some technical reason obscuring the procedure of eligibility checking on the operator’s end, the same should be intimated to the customer.
This will not only clear the air for the customer who has put in the request for MNP, unfamiliar with his/her eligibility. The UPC is normally generated for anyone who sends the SMS for MNP to 1900. TRAI is looking to change this process by asking the telecom operators to check everything before generating UPC. The telecom operator that has received the port-out request should share the details with the operator receiving the port-in request within 24 hours, in addition to informing the customer about the initiation of the MNP process. Flouting this mandate will require the ‘Donor Operator’ to pay a ‘financial disincentive’ of Rs 5,000 per ‘contravention’. Over and above this, if the operator is found to have rejected a porting request ‘wrongfully’, the penalty will be upped to Rs 10,000.
TRAI has noted that of all the rejected porting requests, 40 per cent belong to those denied due to ‘UPC Mismatch’ or ‘UPC expired’ between April 2016 and May 2017. The regulator suggested that the rejections should be minimised by the data sharing time taken by the ‘Donor Operator’. “Donor Operator upon generation of UPC, shall forward the content and validity of UPC to MNPSP, which in turn can be approached by the Recipient Operator, to confirm the correctness and validity of the UPC submitted by the subscriber,” noted TRAI in the draft.