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TRAI issues amendment for full mobile number portability from 3rd May

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is looking to allow Mobile Mobile Number Portability across India by 3rd May 2015, a draft consultation paper (pdf) with an amendment to its current MNP regulations appears to suggest. The amendment, from a telecom operator perspective, proposes the following changes, among others:

– Implementation of Full MNP by processing porting request by the Recipient Operator through the MNP Service Provider of the zone to which the number belongs. At present, India is divided into two MNP zones, each of which has its own MNP Service Provider.

– Reduction in timelines for number return process: in case of disconnection of a number ported to a Recipient Operator, the number returns to the originating operator after a period of 90 days. The authority is looking at a reduction of this timeframe to 60 days

– Disconnection in case of non payment: In case a ported post-paid mobile number defaults in payment to the originating operator, the Originating Operator has to inform the recipient operator for disconnection. The TRAI says that at times, the Originating Operator has received the payment but not informed the Recipient Operator, because of which numbers got disconnected. The TRAI seeks to address this anomaly by ensuring that the Originating Operator informs the Receiving Operator within 15 days.

Note that the TRAI had previously recommended pan-India inter circle mobile number portability (MNP) within six months in September 2013, but that didn’t happen. Similarly in December 2012, telecom minister Kapil Sibal had announced that nationwide mobile number portability will be implemented in the country by February 2013, which also did not happen.

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The first steps towards MNP were first taken by the TRAI in 2009, when it laid out the framework and rules of mobile number portability. The agency, after inviting comments from telecom operators on a consultation paper, had subsequently  announced a cap on the price a subscriber would have to pay for shifting to a new operator while retaining his/her existing number.

Intra-circle Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was then first recommended in the NTP 2011 and after a wait of around eight months, the Union Cabinet had approved the National Telecom Policy (NTP 2012). This allowed users to keep their mobile numbers even if they opt for another telco anywhere in the country.

In July 2013, TRAI had allowed mass mobile mobile number portability for corporate accounts, following complaints about it being denied for corporate numbers, due to “contractual obligations”.The TRAI had also issued a new directive to existing mobile operators, asking them to stop accepting porting requests from customers of telecom operators whose licences were cancelled, in March the same year.

In the month of November 2014, porting requests were submitted for 3.63 million connections up 19.52% from 3.04 million porting requests reported in October 2014.

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