The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had previously set a deadline for the telecom operators to reduce the time taken to port a SIM from one operator to other down to two days. However, now the sector regulator has extended the deadline for the telcos from June 13 to September 30. It is worth noting that currently, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) might take many days and Trai wants to reduce this time down to 2 days, for which it had called out telcos back in December last year to speed up the portability drill. Although Trai had urged the telcos to bring down the MNP time to 2 days for intra-circle portability, for porting SIM between two circles the porting time of 4 days was retained.
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is a process which allows the subscribers of a particular telecom operator to shift their number from one operator to another. Subscribers can port within a circle, or they can port their SIM from one circle to another circle as well. To hasten the time it takes to port a SIM, Trai had asked the telcos to bring improvements in the porting process. However, the telecom operators had said they would require more time to refine the MNP process as the requirement will entail significant changes in their IT elements and networks. Back in April, Trai had sought inputs from the telecom operators on their readiness to implement the new MNP rules.
The new MNP regulations for the telecom operators would mean much more stringent norms with regards to portability. Trai in its new rules, has introduced two types of fines for the telecom operators in case they breach any norm of the new MNP guidelines. For example, the telco will have to pay a maximum of Rs 5,000 per every breach of a rule requiring it to share user details with the MNP service provider within 24 hours of a customer submitting a porting request besides texting the user about the process being initiated. This fine will double to Rs 10,000 per violation if there is any wrongful rejection of porting requests by a telco.
The MNP process also requires the telecom operators to generate a unique code which the subscriber is told to keep safe for the porting process. As part of its attempts to fasten the MNP process, Trai has reduced the validity of the unique code to post a mobile number to four days from 15 days previously. The exception to this code validity reduction are the circles of J&K, Assam and North East where the code will remain valid for 15 days only. Trai has also made the process of withdrawing a porting request easier via text messages.