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TRAI implements 7-day delay for service switch after SIM replacement

Mobile phone users will now have to wait for at least seven days after getting their lost or non-functional SIM card replaced before they can switch their service provider, according to the new Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) rules that come into effect on Monday.

The Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability (Ninth Amendment) Regulations, 2024, aim to prevent fraudsters from porting to new service providers under new names.

Until this seven-day period lapses, the service provider is not permitted to allot a unique porting code to the subscriber. The unique porting code is an alphanumeric code that the current TSP provides to the subscriber so that the phone number can be ported to a new TSP.

The amended rules were notified by the TRAI on March 14 this year and came into effect on Monday.

This three-and-a-half-month period was provided by the TRAI so that TSPs could make modifications to their telecommunication systems to reject requests for UPC in the seven-day period, and to test the systems before the system was rolled out across India.

In September 2022, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), in its letter to TRAI, wrote, “It has come to the notice that mobile connections are being fraudulently ported out by the criminals/fraudsters by way of fraudulent SIM Swaps/replacement [sic]”.

The DoT had suggested a 10-day waiting period after a SIM swap or replacement.

TRAI had conducted a public consultation on the draft amendments between September 27 and November 8 in 2023.

In a July 2023 letter, the DoT had also asked TRAI to require the old (donor) operator and new (recipient) operator to match demographic details of the subscriber (such as name, gender, date of birth, photograph, etc.) after the generation of the UPC and before the number is ported. During the consultation, most of the stakeholders said that a machine-based validation of demographic details should be carried out before the porting process.

“At present, this aspect is being examined in detail in TRAI and it will be dealt with separately,” TRAI had said while notifying the regulations in March. Hindustan Times

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