TRAI, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, sent out a stern missive directing telecom operators to port out SMS facilities for all mobile users with immediate effect. This facility is to be made available for all, irrespective of their tariff offer, plans, or existing vouchers.
The announcement follows on the heels of complaints received by the telecom authority. Many subscribers complained that they were not able to send SMS on shortcode 900, which is used to generate a unique porting code to avail the porting facility. Further complaints reported that telcos refused to provide outgoing SMS facility in certain prepaid vouchers. This would arm-twist subscribers into shelling out more for higher tariff plans.
Moreover, Reliance Jio had recently written to the telecom regulator stating that the new tariff structure of Vodafone Idea reportedly prevented entry-level customers from porting out their mobile numbers from its network. This stirred TRAI into action and pushed it into sending out a two-page directive:
“The Authority hereby directs all access service providers to enable, with immediate effect, for all mobile subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid, requesting for a unique porting code, the facility to send SMS on shortcode 1900, in order to exercise their right to avail the porting facility… irrespective of the value of the tariff offers/vouchers.”
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The current Mobile Number Portability (MNP) rules indicate that every access provider should facilitate MNP to all subscribers, both prepaid and post-paid, in its network. The provider, on receiving the specific request, should extend the facility without discrimination.
The notice also stated:
“The Authority is of the view that this practice of non-provision of the facility of sending MNP related SMS in certain pre-paid vouchers/plans is in contravention of the provisions of MNP Regulations, as it takes away the consumer’s right, provided for in the regulations, to avail mobile number portability facility.”
Just last month, Vodafone Idea had hiked the prices of its 4G prepaid recharge plans in India by up to 25%. Airtel had also announced a 20-25% price hike for its prepaid recharge plans. TRAI’s latest directive is a welcome move for those wanting to port their number without much hassle.
What do you think of the order? Let us know in the comments.