“These (mobile portability) charges are based on a cost reimbursement principle and computed accordingly to arrive at a Rs 5.74 pricing to be effective from September 30,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman RS Sharma told ETTelecom.
The new per port transaction charge (PPTC), reduced by almost 70%, is aimed to benefit the recipient telecom operators which are currently paying Rs 19 for every new consumer, they acquire to MNP service providers such as Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions.
Stressed telecom companies such as Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel as well as Reliance Jio can save nearly Rs 75 crore annually once new rule kicks in.
“We have changed the architecture of MNP. Initially, it was a Unique Porting Code (UPC) being generated by donor operators that have though a legitimate interest to retain their subscribers, and have more rejections,” Sharma added.
Telcos though, charge consumers Rs 3 to Rs 5 only against SMS for producing porting code.
Mobile number portability or MNP refers to the facility that allows users to switch to another telecom operator without changing the mobile number.
The regulator had in January last year reduced the porting charge to Rs 4, from Rs 19, but following a case filed by Syniverse Technologies, the amended regulation was quashed by the Delhi high court in March this year.
In July this year, billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s verdict that restored the previous porting charges of Rs 19.
The development, however, shattered the hopes of MNP solution providers which were aiming to recover close to Rs 120 crore of combined porting fee arrears retrospectively from telcos since February 2018.
Syniverse, according to the regulator, had objected to the new regime, and sought a week’s time additionally which was subsequently allowed.
Telco executives say that since over the previous years, the volume of porting requests have increased substantially, the MNP operators should look at volume business rather than sticking to a higher price point.
In June 2019, a total of 4.34 million porting requests were received by service providers while the cumulative MNP requests have increased from 437.15 million at the end of May 2019 to 441.49 million at the end of June 2019, since the implementation of MNP.
In February 2019, Trai has sought industry comments on the draft amendment regulations, with a deadline of August 23, and added that the abundant opportunity has already been given to stakeholders to provide inputs.