Trai cuts mobile number portability rates by 79% to Rs 4 from Rs 19; telecom operators welcome the move
Mobile Number Portability or MNP allows telecom subscribers to retain their existing mobile number, even when they shift to another operator
New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai on Wednesday slashed mobile number portability rates by almost 79 percent to a maximum of Rs 4, citing lower cost and higher volumes for such transactions. The prescribed ceiling for mobile number portability rates was Rs 19, so far.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in a statement directed the reduction in "per port transaction charge of Rs 19 to Rs 4 for each successful porting". "...the ceiling of charges leviable from subscriber stands automatically reduced to Rs 4. However, recipient operators are free to charge a lesser amount from the subscriber for Mobile Number Portability," it said.
Put simply, the Mobile Number Portability or MNP allows telecom subscribers to retain their existing mobile number, even when they shift to another operator. Trai had initiated a consultation process to review MNP charges in mid-December, and followed it up with an open house discussion on the issue on 16 January.
"After taking into consideration the comments received from stakeholders during consultation process and other relevant facts, the authority has decided that the per port transaction charge may be reduced as the costs of operations of Mobile Number Portability Service Providers (MNPSPs) have substantially gone down and the volume of MNP traffic has increased," Trai said.
The new charges will come into force from the date of notification in the official gazette, Trai said. Telecom operators said that the move will reduced MNP cost burden on them.
"Operators have been requesting Trai to bring down this charge as the MNP transaction have increases manifold since inception of MNP. In several instances, the operators were bearing this cost on behalf of the customers approaching them for port-in. Hence, it will be beneficial for both customers and operators as the cost of porting will be greatly reduced," industry body COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said.
The review of the rates was initiated as the regulator felt that considering the upsurge in the volume of porting requests (with effect from July 2015) and the financial results of both the mobile number portability service providers (MNPSPs), the ceiling of Rs 19 is "quite high" when compared to cost and volumes of transaction involved.
As the rules are now, whenever a subscriber changes his circle, he needs to acquire a new mobile number of that circle, otherwise he will be under roaming, inviting higher call charges than a normal subscriber.
Mobile subscribers from May 3 will be able to port their numbers anywhere in the country while changing service providers, as telecom regulator Trai has amended the regulation on it.