Trai Extends Timeline for Rollout of New Mobile Number Portability Regulations

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One of the highly demanded services in the telecom sector is of mobile number portability (MNP). The demand for this service has especially gone up after the industry went through the data tariff war and the competition between the telecom operators intensified. As a result, the telcos started rolling out new attractive offers at luring prices, which led to the migration of consumers from one network to another. It is obvious that people would not want to lose their number in the process; hence, MNP was the way to go. However, the trouble with MNP has been the one week waiting period, which is a lot considering the network situation, data flow and the average calling minutes of the users these days. To fix this issue, Trai will be rolling out a new MNP process with new regulations sometime in November, instead of September 30 which was the previous date for the rollout of the new regulations.

Trai Postpones Rollout of New Regulations to November 11

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), today in its press release, announced that it is taking the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability (Seventh Amendment) Regulations, 2018 effective starting September 30. Notably, this new set of regulations will bring a different process for mobile number portability into practice.

The telecom regulator conducted meetings with Mobile Number Portability Service Providers (MNPSPs) and Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) in the September month. In these meetings, it was discussed that thorough testing should be performed before the rollout of the new MNP process so that the subscribers do not face any inconvenience later for system related issues. Trai also noted that “the MNPSPs and TSPs informed that they still have to offer the Acceptance Testing to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in some of the Licensed Service Areas (LSAs) and; therefore requested that additional time of 2 weeks is required for robust internal and Inter-Operator Testing (IOT) and additional 2-3 weeks will be required for the testing to be carried by respective TERM Cells of DoT.”

Now going by the responses of TSPs, MNPSPs and the DoT, the telecom regulator has extended the rollout date of the new MNP regulations to November 11, 2019, from the previous date of September 30, 2019.

What Will the New MNP Regulations Bring?

It is worth noting that the new MNP regulations proposed and soon to be implemented by Trai will have a multitude of implications for the normal telecom subscribers. The new rules will affect all the subscribers who wish to port their SIM to a different network and among all the effects, the first will be of the reduction in the time that it takes to port the SIM. Currently, to port a SIM it takes almost a week’s worth of wait before the subscriber is able to access the network of the port-in telco. But, with the new rules, this time will be brought down to only two days. Similarly, a timeline of four working days has been prescribed for requests for port out from one circle to other.

Also, for the telcos, the new regulations dictate that they would be fined Rs 10,000 for every wrongful rejection” of the request for porting. Another factor which would be influenced by the rollout of the new MNP regulations is the validity of the porting code. Currently, the porting code remains valid for a fortnight or 14 days, but with the change in the rules, the validity of the porting code would be brought down to four days. There will also be service quality parameters set with the new regulations, which means that the telcos and the other service providers in the MNP process will be under the scrutiny of the regulator.

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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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