The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has introduced a new fee for mobile number portability (MNP) which is pegged at Rs 5.74, and it will be effective starting September 30, 2019. As per the telecom regulator, this new fee has been calculated based on a cost reimbursement basis after the change in architecture. This report comes from ET Telecom. The Telecom Regulatory chairman, RS Sharma, said, “These (mobile portability) charges are based on a cost reimbursement principle and computed accordingly to arrive at a Rs 5.74 pricing to be effective from September 30.” Currently, for every MNP transaction right now, the telecom operators have t pay various agencies. But with the new fee, the telcos will be saving on these transactions.
New Fee 70% Lower Than Previous Prices
Currently, these telecom operators pay Rs 19 for every customer that they acquire. This payment goes to agencies like MNP service providers such as Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions. This new fee which is reduced by over 70%, will help the recipient telecom operators. When the new MNP fee goes effective, the financially stressed telecom companies like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea will be able to save up to Rs 75 crore annually.
Speaking about this new rule, RS Sharma added, “We have changed the architecture of MNP. Initially, it was a Unique Porting Code (UPC) being generated by donor operators that have though a legitimate interest to retain their subscribers, and have more rejections.” The telecom operators, on the other hand, charge consumers very less compared to what they have to pay. The consumer migrating to other networks are only charged Rs 3 to Rs 5 against SMS, which is required to port the number.
Legal Row on MNP Transaction Pricing
For the unknown, the MNP or the Mobile Number Portability facility allows the subscribers to move from one network to another network without changing their number. To recall, in January, Trai had reduced the porting charges from the previous Rs 20 limit to Rs 4. However, because of a case filed by Syniverse Technologies, the new regulation was withdrawn after Delhi High Court crushed the new regulation in March.
Later in July, Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court which challenged the verdict of Delhi High Court quashing the order which reverted the porting charges to Rs 19. The MNP service providers, however, were not happy with the verdict as they were on the lookout to recover about Rs 120 crore of combined porting fee arrears from the telecom operators, accumulated since February 2018. The service providers in June 2019, received a total of 4.34 million porting requests. The cumulative MNP requests have increased from 437.15 million at the end of May 2019 to 441.49 million at the end of June 2019, since the implementation of MNP. Trai had also issued a consultation paper to invite comments of stakeholders on the new rules.