The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday extended till November 11 the deadline for implementation of new mobile number portability (MNP) rules for users wanting to switch to new operator without changing mobile number.
The revamped MNP will make the process faster and simpler, and Trai has cut migration process time within a service area to just two days from seven. MNP allows a mobile subscriber to port the same phone number anywhere in the country.
The regulator had issued MNP regulations in December, and the revised process was scheduled to come into force from September 30, which was earlier extended from June 13. The push back in timelines is expected to offer a relief to operators. The deadline was extended after telecom operators and MNP service providers sought more time to perform testing before migration to the new process, in order to ensure that subscribers are not inconvenienced, Trai said in a statement.
In December 2018, Trai had called for speeding up the MNP processing time for porting requests within a circle to two days. However, the four-day processing span was retained for porting requests from one circle to another.
According to the amended MNP regulations, Trai had recommended two sets of financial disincentives on telecom companies failing to stick to porting request processing deadlines.
A mobile service provider will have to pay a peak penalty of Rs 5,000 for flouting rules and would be mandated 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. The penalty would double up to Rs 10,000 per violation for any wrongful rejection of porting requests by a telecom company. “According to discussions, it was suggested that robust testing should be performed before migration to the new process so that the subscribers are not inconvenienced later for any system related issues," the regulator said.
The industry informed Trai that they still have to offer the ‘acceptance testing’ to the department of Telecommunications in some of the service areas and that additional time of two weeks is needed for robust internal and inter-operator testing and another 2-3 weeks for the testing to be carried out by respective telecom enforcement resource and monitoring cells of the department.