The direction comes after Jio, in a complaint to TRAI, said that Vodafone Idea’s new tariffs do not allow users to port to its network since the entry-level plans do not have SMS benefits.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed telecom operators Airtel, Jio, and Vi to allow customers to port out with any prepaid or postpaid plan. The direction comes after Jio, in a complaint to TRAI, said that Vodafone Idea’s new tariffs do not allow users to port to its network since the entry-level plans do not have SMS benefits. Through Mobile Number Portability (MNP), users can move to another telecom operator while retaining the old number. Subscribers are required to send an SMS first to their service operator after which a request is initiated that may take four to five days.
In the recent prepaid tariff plan revision, the telecom companies like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are no more offering free SMS benefits and for this subscribers were not able to send message to generate UPC code for port out from the operator network. TRAI has considered this manipulation of Telecom companies as a violation of the rule.
According to TRAI, not giving SMS facility to prepaid users is a violation of the rules of mobile number portability ie MNP. In such a situation, TRAI has directed all telecom operators to provide the facility of sending SMS to the shortcode 1900 for both prepaid and postpaid mobile users with immediate effect.
The regulator quoted regulation 4 of the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009, and noted that it “provides that every Access Provider shall facilitate in its entire network, Mobile Number Portability to all subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid and shall, upon request, provide the same on a non-discriminatory basis.”
Complaint Report to TRAI on Portout SMS issue
“Jio has 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,” PTI had quoted a source as saying. Jio’s complaint highlights that Vodafone idea Limited is providing SMS service in plans priced at Rs 179 and above. Airtel, Jio, and Vi announced their tariff hikes in late November. The telcos had noted that the hike will help their average revenue per user (ARPU).
According to the notice issued by TRAI, not providing SMS related to MNP in prepaid plans is a violation of the rules. It is the right of the customers to use the facility of SMS, which cannot be taken away. Having said this, Jio, Airtel, and Vi are not providing SMS facilities with their low-cost entry-level prepaid plans. Whereas data and talk time are being given in all these prepaid plans. Keeping this issue in mind, TRAI has taken strict steps.
On December 3, 2010, TRAI had directed all operators to treat the SMS sent to short code number 1900 as ordinary SMS for the purpose of charging and the rate for such SMS shall not exceed the tariff applicable for ordinary SMS under the tariff plan opted by the subscriber.