The telecom regulator Friday dismissed mobile companies' contention that they should be paid for allowing subscribers to shift from one network to another using mobile number portability.
In an order issued late Friday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) also reprimanded companies for charging high cost for sending messages on the short code number 1900 created to enable portability of numbers and asked them to treat such messages on a par with ordinary SMSs.
The authority examined the issues raised by the service providers and noted that the procedure for the mobile number portability (MNP) does not require the operator to carry out any significant work and insofar as switch-over of a subscriber is concerned.
"A subscriber is free to terminate his connection with a service provider at any time - the only requirement being that the subscriber should clear his outstanding dues," the TRAI statement said.
It also directed service providers to treat the SMS sent to short code number 1900 as ordinary SMS for the purpose of charging.
"The rate for such messages shall not exceed the tariff applicable for ordinary SMS under the tariff plan opted by the subscriber," the statement added.
The much talked about mobile number portability was recently launched in Haryana circle and now awaits a nation-wide launch on Jan 20, 2011.
The service allows a customer to change his operator while retaining the same number. A customer has to pay a maximum of Rs.19 to the new operator for porting his number. The minimum stay period for a customer to retain the new operator is three months.
The customers have to send an SMS from their phone to 1900, based on which they get a unique porting code from the existing provider. Thereafter they have to fill a application mentioning the code to the selected new service provider for transferring the number.
"The maximum time for porting would become seven working days except in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North East service areas, wherein it would be 15 working days," the TRAI