India asks telcos to enable SMS facility for porting subscribers

India asks telcos to enable SMS facility for porting subscribers

The telecom regulatory authority of India (Trai) has directed all telcos to immediately enable the facility to send a text message or SMS shortcode 1900, which is used for porting from one carrier to another.

"The Authority hereby directs all access service providers to enable, with immediate effect, for all mobile subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid, requesting for a unique porting code, the facility to send SMS on shortcode 1900, in order to exercise their right to avail porting facility... irrespective of the value of the tariff offers/vouchers," the regulator said in a statement.

Mobile number portability (MNP) requires subscribers to first send an SMS to their service operator.

The decision comes within days of Reliance Jio Infocomm alleging that Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel’s tariff plans disallow consumers below a certain pricing threshold from porting out.

TRAI said it had received complaints from subscribers for not being able to send SMS on shortcode 1900, specified for generating a unique porting code for availing MNP facility despite having sufficient balance in their prepaid accounts. It said that it had found that telcos were not providing outgoing SMS facilities in certain prepaid vouchers. It did not name any specific telco.

"The Authority is of the view that this practice of non-provision of the facility of sending MNP related SMS in certain pre-paid vouchers/plans is in contravention of the provisions of MNP Regulations, as it takes away the consumer's right, provided for in the regulations, to avail mobile number portability facility," it said in an announcement.

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