India's telecom regulator, Trai, on Wednesday reduced the fee for Mobile Number Portability (MNP) facility to a maximum to Rs 4 from present Rs 19, which means mobile phone users would now need to pay much lower for the facility. Trai’s decision comes on the back of consultation paper issued on December 18, 2017, and several stakeholder views.
Telcos had then said that the charge should be lowered to Rs 2 or abolished altogether, as some carriers absorb the charge. However, MNP service providers had wanted the charge to stay at Rs 19.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said the decision to reduce the fee was based on the fact that costs of operations of MNP service providers had substantially gone down and at the same time the volume of MNP traffic had soared. It added that change would come into effect immediately.
“After taking into consideration the views/ comments received from stakeholders and the other relevant facts, the Authority has decided that the per port transaction charge may be reduced as the costs of operations of MNP service providers have substantially gone down and at the same time the volume of MNP traffic has increased by leaps and bounds,” the regulator said. “As a result of this amendment, there will be an automatic reduction in the ceiling of the charges leviable from subscribers for MNP from Rs 19 to Rs 4."
Rajan S. Mathews, Director General of COAI, which represents GSM telcos, said, "We welcome the decision of TRAI to reduce the MNP per port transaction charge to Rs. 4 for each successful porting request."
He said that a revision was long overdue, and operators had been requesting the regulator to bring down this charge as the MNP transaction has increased manifold since the inception of MNP. In several instances, the operators were bearing this cost on behalf of the customers approaching them for the port-in. Hence, it will be beneficial for both customers and operators as the cost of porting will be greatly reduced, he added.