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TRAI order on port out facility needs no interference: TDSAT

The telecom tribunal on Thursday said TRAI’s directive that enabled users to port out of their network via SMS request, irrespective of value of their tariff offer and plans “requires no interference”, as it dismissed a petition filed by Vodafone Idea.

The impugned order of TRAI dated December 7, 2021 is within its powers and requires no interference, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) said in its order.

The tribunal was hearing Vodafone Idea’s appeal against the TRAI directive.

“Reading the obligations upon Access Providers under MNP (Mobile Number portability) Regulations in a restricted manner as pleaded on behalf of appellant would make the MNP Regulations unworkable for many subscribers.

“On the other hand the interpretation or meaning of the Regulations 4 and 5(1) of MNP Regulations as urged by TRAI does not have any substantial effect upon the regime of forbearance in matters of tariff formulation,” TDSAT said.

TDSAT found the stand of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to be “fair and reasonable”. It has also asked TRAI to “provide a reasonable time to the appellant (VIL) to implement the impugned directions for all its subscribers, irrespective of the value of the tariff offers/vouchers.” A mail sent to Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) for comments did not elicit a response.

“It has been conceded on behalf of respondent that Access Service Providers shall be entitled to charge for the SMS messages requesting for a unique porting code and also for communicating such code to the subscriber through SMS message, at the usual rate for SMS which is charged from subscriber having such facility,” the tribunal said in its order.

This issue should be clarified by TRAI through an addendum or independent clarification in the impugned direction so that the facility of even limited SMS to serve the purpose of network portability is not free of cost and is made chargeable from the subscribers concerned, when availed for the purpose of MNP, the TDSAT order said. PTI

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