Trai Chairman Explains Why Mobile Number Portability Rules Were Changed

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is the one responsible for bringing reeling changes in the telecom industry and ensuring that the interests of the consumers remain a top priority in the sector. As such, the regulator has recently brought some changes into the industry which have to do with the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) regulations. These changes significantly change the MNP process and reduce the time that was required to switch from one operator to another operator. The new MNP rules have definitely been appreciated by the consumers, and for the most part, the biggest advantage for the consumers is that they have to wait very less to change their operator. However, in a new talk with ETTelecom, Trai chairman RS Sharma has explained why the MNP rules were changed and what are some of the other implications of the new rules that have been brought in its wake. The Trai chairman also expressed his views on the unbundled licensing regime too.


Mobile Number Portability New Rules

When asked, why the MNP regime was changed in the Indian telecom industry, Trai chairman, RS Sharma remarked that when the subscriber had to port from one operator to another operator, they had to go their current operator from which they want to port out of. When the subscribers went to their operator, they wanted to retain their customer and hence rejected their MNP request on the basis of non-payment of bills. As such, the power of releasing the customer was in the hands of the telecom operators, which led to a conflict of interest in some cases. The Unique Porting Code (UPC) which was required by the port-in telecom operator (operator to which the subscribers want to port) was also generated by the current telecom operator of the subscribers.

Role of MNP Service Provider

Now, the process has been changed, and the power of handing out the UPC does not lie with the telecom operator. With the new process, the subscriber can directly go to the telecom operator to which he or she wants to their SIM. This telecom operator will then file a request to the MNP service provider, who will then check with the previous telecom operator for any pending bill payments or dues, and if there are no such dues from the subscriber, then the operator will be able to port-in with the UPC which the MNP service provider provides.

Previously, in the MNP process, both the telecom operators were involved, and both of these telcos wanted to keep the subscriber on their network, and hence there was a tussle, and the operator did not want the customer to let go. But, now the power remains with the MNP provider, which is a neutral party in the transaction. The deadline for the generation of UPC and porting has been set at three days by Trai, which ensures that the subscribers will be able to port quickly.

Unbundled Licensing Regime

The Trai chairman also shared his views on the unbundled licensing regime. Under this, the four services which are handled by telecom operators including towers and fibre; underlying network; service layers; and an application layer, each will be done by a different player. Trai has also floated a consultation paper on the same currently. As per the Trai chairman, such a set up would allow the operators to save on their capital expenditure as well, as they would only have to pay rent.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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