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Costly Transfers

Manu Kaushik     October 2, 2018

Service providers are irate after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued new draft guidelines for Mobile Number Portability. Their prime worry is a proposal to halve the mandated time for porting a number within a telecom circle from one operator to another, from four days to two. The TRAI is also proposing to introduce a bunch of ancillary charges to be paid by telcos, including cancellation charges. Irate telco officials say consolidation in the sector has accelerated MNP requests over the past two years and some customers have faced inconvenience due to heavy backlog of requests. Telcos around the world are bargaining hard with governments for more time to process porting requests, because MNP services come at a cost, and no one wants to lose subscribers. Market experts suggest the move will most benefit new aggressive telco (Reliance Jio) over existing players (Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel) who will have to work doubly hard on customer retention strategies. - Manu Kaushik

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