TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has issued consultation papers to improve the mobile number portability (MNP) process. The aim for this update is to make the porting process prompt and more comfortable for the customers.
Do people actually port their network?
According to the statistics, the count of porting requests processed so far is about 345 million. This number is from the MNP process initiated in 2011. The data given by COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) illustrates a massive increase in the annual MNP requests. There were about 6.5 million requests in 2011 and 65 million requests in 2017. This data clearly signifies that there is a high percentage of users who are willing to port their numbers to a better network.
Now that there are so many users of the Mobile Number Portability process, it becomes vital to understand the process deeply and see if there are any problems.
Going through the data, there were some major problems that lead to cancellation of porting request.
Here are some of the problems that customers used to face which TRAI wishes to resolve:
Problem A: Rejection of porting request due to wrong UPC (unique porting code)
Mismatch of UPC leads to the cancellation of porting request. A lot of times porting code generated by the customers expire before the porting actually happens. Generating the code again and again can lead to dissatisfaction amongst the customers and wasted efforts for the subscribers.
The reason for this can be incorrect porting code submitted at the time of sale (PoS: Point of sale) by the potential subscriber to the operator where he/she is trying to port. Or from the telecom provider that the customer wishes to change.
Solution: The aim is to reduce error as far as possible For this, a change is proposed by TRAI which can ease out the process. MCH (MNP clearing house) that is the technical section to implement the Mobile Number Portability mechanisms, should be placed in between the process of transferring the porting code. The UPC provided by the old operator (Donor operator/ the one customer wishes to change or port out from) will be given to MCH by Donor operator. Later, MCH can provide the porting code to the operator that the customer wishes to port in.
This process can reduce the chances of error in porting requests.
Problem B: 2 weeks of porting time
The entire process of porting takes about 2 weeks and this can be really tiring for the customers. This many a times leads to cancellation of request or communication problem.
Solution: According to R.S. Sharma (the chairman of TRAI), the process of porting should be immediate.
Problem C: Porting fee
There should not be any extra charges to port from one network to another.
Solution: Mr. Sharma suggests that the porting process should be as cost effective and convenient as possible. In January TRAI had cut down the porting fee from Rs. 19 to Rs. 4.
Problem D: Shutting down of major network providers like Aircel and Reliance Communication
The sudden shut down of major telecom providers like Aircel and Reliance Communication have created severe problems in the porting process as it became very difficult to extract a porting code. Also, there were challenges in the refund process of the mobile balance that was unused by the users.
Solution: A complete revamp of MNP is under process which can make portability very swift, cost effective and comfortable for both: users and service providers.
Also, the changes suggested by TRAI includes a provision where MCH (MNP Clearing House) can help in providing relevant data for customers from the donor network. This can include the amount outstanding, date of bill payments, period/date of notice, etc.
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