No change in licence fee for nationwide mobile number portability, says TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) not to make any changes in entry fee and bank guarantee of companies involved in managing MNP (mobile number portability) service.


"The Authority is of the opinion that there seems no justification for any enhancement of Entry Fee for Mobile Number Portability licensees for implementing Full Mobile Number Portability. The Authority recommends no enhancement of Entry fee for MNP licensees," the telecom regulator said in its reply on MNP to the telecom department.


Nationwide or full MNP will allow mobile subscribers to shift their mobile service on to network of any telecom operator throughout the country while retaining same number.


At present, MNP allows to change network within the same telecom circle.


The DoT had sent a reference to TRAI for reconsidering its opinion for additional entry fee, performance bank guarantee (PBG) and financial bank guarantee (FBG) that should be charged from existing MNP service providers for extending scope of their licences.


At present, two companies - Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Telecom Solution - operate to provide MNP service under which mobile subscribers can change their telecom operators while retaining their number.


TRAI said that these companies have still around 5 years before their license validity expires.


The regulator said that the potential subscribers to avail nationwide MNP would be very small. Besides, MNP service providers will have to incur cost to bring change in their infrastructure to provide nationwide MNP.


"These service providers are only the per port transaction charge of Rs. 19 received from the Access Providers (mobile operators). They are dependent on the porting volumes alone to recover this cost and earn profits. As the porting volumes for full MNP is not evident, recovering the cost for modifications is already a concern to them," the regulator said.


The regulator recommended that it is of the view that that the PBG for the MNP service providers should be continued as per the existing license conditions.


As per the licence conditions, 50 per cent of this PBG was to be released by the telecom department after completion of 1 year but TRAI said that DoT has not yet released this amount.


"An amount equal to 50 per cent of PBG i.e. Rs. 50 lakh may be kept till the end of their licence period and any excess amount pending with the DoT should be released immediately," TRAI suggested.


The regulator has also recommended that DoT should continue with existing norm of keeping FBG equivalent to licence fee of two quarter which as per MNP service provider that department already has taken from them under their present licence norms.


"Authority recommends that the existing FBG equivalent to license fee for two quarters shall be continued," TRAI said.


The recommendation of regulator along with views of DoT will be placed before inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission for its call on full MNP.



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