New Delhi: Citing increase in the volume of porting requests for mobile numbers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday reduced the cap on charges to be paid by consumers to shift their cellular numbers to a different service provider by nearly 79 per cent to Rs 4. So far, the prescribed ceiling charge for mobile number portability was Rs 19.
The regulator had initiated a consultation process to review this levy in mid-December, and had an open-house discussion on the same on January 16. “Considering the upsurge in the volume of porting requests…and the financial results of both the Mobile Number Portability Service Providers (MNPSPs) for the last two available years, the Authority is of the view that the present ceiling of Rs 19 is quite high as compared to cost and volume of transaction involved,” Trai said in a statement. The two MNPSPs have been allocated regions according to two zones – the North Zone and the South Zone. Syniverse Technologies (India) Pvt Ltd offers MNP service in the North Zone, while MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions India Pvt Ltd offers the service in the South Zone.
Notifying the regulation to reduce the porting charges, the sector regulator said on Wednesday it has “decided that the per port transaction charge may be reduced as the costs of operations of MNPSPs have substantially gone down and the volume of MNP traffic has increased”.
Reacting to the development, mobile operators’ body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said: “We welcome the decision of Trai to reduce the MNP per port transaction charge to Rs. 4 for each successful porting request. Trai had prescribed Rs. 19 as per port transaction charge vide its Regulation dated November 20, 2009. Thus, a revision was long overdue. Operators have been requesting Trai to bring down this charge as the MNP transaction have increase manifold since inception of MNP. In several instances, the operators were bearing this cost on behalf of the customers approaching them for the port-in. Hence, it will be beneficial for both customers and operators as the cost of porting will be greatly reduced”.
As per Trai’s monthly report on telecom subscription data, the cumulative requests for porting of mobile numbers from one service provider to another grew to 331 million in November 2017 from 18.6 million in August 2011.