The mobile number portability might raise concerns for the mobile phone users in the coming year.Mobile number portability

NEW DELHI: The mobile phone users planning to change service provider while keeping the old number will have difficulties after March next year.

Mobile number portability (MNP), as it’s called, is functioning properly right now but the two companies which is responsible for the service in India — MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions and Syniverse Technologies — have written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that the almost-80% reduction in porting charges since January this year has resulted into daily losses and they have to close services once their licence terms come to an end in March 2019, said people with the concern of the matter.

If this happens, customers who want to change their service provider due to billing issues, poor call qualities or irrelevant tariffs will have no option to do so — at least in the near term.

 

A DoT official said the policy for mobile number portability might change if the issue isn’t settled in time.

Monthly MNP requests have increased tremendously in near past. With the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm and exits by Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Aircel and Telenor India, the older operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are dropping tariff rates to retain or attract customers.

MNP Interconnection(which handles east and south India), has said it will halt its operation and surrender the lincense, while Syniverse Technologies, which handles north and western India, has mentioned its alarming financial problems to DOT due to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) order to reduce charges down to Rs 4 per transaction from a previous charge of Rs 19.

Both the companies has handled more than 370 million porting requests until March this year. They have also moved court against the regulator, on the grounds of arbitrary and non-transparent transactions. The case will be heard next on July 4.
“We have written to DoT that our company will not be able to provide MNP services mainly because the tariff has been revised to as low as Rs 4, which has made the business unsustainable as we’re facing losses on a daily basis and can’t even pay salaries,” said a senior executive at MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions to ET on the condition of anonymity.

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