Update: A Delhi Court has sent summons to Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Loop Mobile for rejecting MNP port out requests, violating the guideline laid down by the TRAI, reports The Times Of India. The Court has said that it had summoned the top executives of the telecom companies, since it has enough documents to proceed with the case which relates to an offence punishable under section 29 of Trai Act for violation of Regulation 12 of the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations. 

Earlier, March 19, 2012: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has approached a Delhi Court, with a complaint against mobile operator, Loop Mobile, the company’s Managing Director, Sandip Basu and Chief Regulatory Officer, Harish Kapoor for rejecting MNP (Mobile Number Portability) port out requests from its subscribers, preventing them to switch over to other service providers, which is a clear violation of TRAI’s regulations, reports The Times of India.

In its complaint, the TRAI has alleged that Loop Mobile rejected several port-out requests on the basis of the ‘act of God’ clause and few on the grounds of ‘contractual obligations’ and ‘outstanding payment dues’, even though the rejection clause in the mobile number portability regulations doesn’t allow telecom operators to reject porting requests on these grounds. The operator had replied to show cause notices sent by the TRAI saying that the rejections were due to some technical error, however, it had rejected the authority’s demand for further information including documents related to contractual agreements with customers.

We noticed that when it comes to mobile number porting, subscribers face difficulties in switching, since telcos make sure that the entire process is anything but smooth. The TRAI should take steps to ensure that the process is made easy and transparent for subscribers.

Previously, the TRAI had directed telecom operators not to reject porting requests on flimsy grounds i.e. if the outstanding due amount from the subscriber was less than Rs 10, which the service provider may include in the subsequent bill of the subscriber without any penal charges or on the grounds of contractual obligations. In November 2011, following several complaints from Vodafone subscribers, it had also directed to Vodafone to not reject porting requests of its subscribers on grounds of contractual obligations if the customer had not entered into a contract with the company.

In February 2012, TRAI had issued a directive asking donor operators to not reject MNP porting requests on the grounds that it has received a cancellation request from a subscriber through SMS, voice calls and in written form, after observing a high percentage of porting request cancellations from these donor operators. It was indicated that the operators might be incentivizing the subscribers to withdraw their porting requests, following which they were canceling porting requests by themselves, which is against to the TRAI’s MNP guidelines.