The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released directives to mobile operators Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, and Tata Teleservices, directing them to discontinue all mobile numbers ported out from Loop Telecom Limited within the next 48 hours.

The regulator stated that the above mentioned operators should provide a suitable notice to the concerned subscriber, disconnect the number and return the mobile number to the number range holder (the original operator). It added that the operators should also provide a compliance report to the authority in the next fifteen days.

Loop Telecom Complaint: This directive follows a complaint from Loop Telecom in July 2012, which had stated that 5923 premium numbers had been illegally ported out of its network to other networks in various service areas, including areas where Loop Telecom had not even launched its commercial operations. The operator had also added that out of 5923 premium numbers, around 5580 numbers were ported out three non-commercially launched service areas and around 343 numbers were ported out of six service areas, where the operator had launched its commercial operations.

Earlier in April, Loop Telecom had stated its plans to shut down its operations in the country, after its licenses were cancelled by the Supreme Court in its 2G Spectrum scam verdict. The operator had then asked its existing subscribers in 13 circles in the country through several text messages and newspaper ads, to port out to other available operators using Mobile Number Portability (MNP) before April 30.

Circle-wise Breakup of Illegally ported out numbers: In its complaint, Loop Telecom claimed it had never activated these 5923 premium numbers for subscriber use and the unique porting codes (UPC) used to port out these numbers were never generated by the operator.  It also noted that around 5527 numbers were ported out of Himachal Pradesh service area, 50 numbers were ported out of Delhi service area and 3 numbers were ported out of Andhra Pradesh service area, where the company had not launched commercial operations.

Operator-wise breakup: Loop Telecom had also claimed that out of the 5923 premium numbers ported out, Bharti Airtel had processed (pdf) around 5288 porting requests followed by Idea Cellular which had processed (pdf) around 307 requests, Tata Teleservices which had processed (pdf) 230 porting requests, Reliance Communications which had processed 52 (41 RCOM (pdf)+ 11 Reliance Telecom (pdf)) porting request, Vodafone India which had processed (pdf) 26 porting requests and Aircel which had processed (pdf) 20 porting requests.

TRAI stated that following the complaint, it sought comments from the service providers about the porting process of these premium numbers, to which the service provides replied that these numbers were automatically cleared in the Mobile Clearing House, due a lack of response regarding the acceptance or rejection of these porting requests from Loop Telecom within the specified time.

Previous Developments: Last month, TRAI had announced that it will fine telecom operators if they were found breaching the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009. TRAI had stated that it will be levying a financial disincentive of Rs 5,000 for each contravention. Further, TRAI had also added that it will be levying a financial disincentive of Rs 10,000 for each rejection, in case the regulator notices any contravention in the rejection of porting requests by a service provider.

Prior to this, TRAI had issued a directive, asking donor operators to not reject MNP porting requests on the ground that they received a cancellation request from a subscriber through SMS, voice calls and in written form. It had also asked operators not to reject MNP requests on the grounds of pending small dues and contractual obligations.

TRAI had stated that around 64.91 million subscribers had submitted number porting requests till August 2012, up from 59.30 million porting requests till July 2012.

Related:

TDSAT Stays TRAI Directive To Remove 90-Day MNP Period For Select Telcos
Telcos Approach MNP Companies To Allow Porting Cancellations
Updated: TRAI Approaches Delhi Court Against Loop Mobile, Airtel & Idea Over MNP Rejections
Loop Telecom To Close Down Operations; Asks Subscribers To Port Out