New Delhi: Sector regulator TRAI directed Tuesday all telecom operators to ‘immediately’ enable port out SMS facility for all mobile users requiring it, irrespective of value of their tariff offer, vouchers, or plans they have opted for. TRAI’s stern missive on smooth network portability, assumes significance as Reliance Jio had recently written to the regulator complaining that the new tariff structure of Vodafone Idea (VIL) allegedly restricts entry-level customers to port out their mobile number from its network. TRAI has also taken a strong note of telecom service companies not providing outgoing SMS facility in certain prepaid vouchers.
In a direction issued Tuesday, TRAI said in recent past it has received complaints from subscribers over their inability to send SMS on short code 1900 specified for UPC (Unique Porting Code) generation, for availing mobile number portability facility despite having sufficient balance in their prepaid accounts.
“Now therefore the authority…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 short code 1900, in order to exercise their right to avail porting facility in accordance with the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009 … Irrespective of the value of the tariff offer/vouchers,” TRAI said in its direction.
The regulator asserted that the practice of non-provision of the facility of sending mobile number portability related SMS in certain prepaid vouchers/plans is a ‘contravention of norms’ as it ‘takes away the consumers’ right, provided for in the regulations to avail mobile number portability facility’.
The current rules require every access provider to facilitate in its network, mobile number portability to all subscribers, both prepaid and post paid, and on receiving specific request, provide the facility on a ‘non discriminatory basis’.
“And whereas…MNP Regulations provides that every access provider shall set up, in its mobile network, a mechanism for the purpose of receiving Short Message Service (SMS) from its subscribers requesting for a unique porting code and forwarding the same to the Mobile Number Portability zone to which the mobile number belongs…,” TRAI said.
Jio, according to sources, had complained to TRAI that VIL’s new tariff restricts people opting for low value plans from porting their mobile number as outgoing SMS facility is not available in the entry level plans of VIL.
Vodafone Idea, in November, raised mobile services and data rates by 18-25 per cent. Under the new tariff structure, VIL increased the entry level plan with 28 days validity to Rs 99 from Rs 75 but the entry-level plan is not bundled with SMS service. As per Jio’s complaint, VIL is providing SMS service in plans priced at Rs 179 and above.