Can't stall number porting for dues of less than Rs.10: TRAI

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New Delhi, May 25 : The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Wednesday said it has issued a direction that no telecom operator can refuse a subscriber's request for number porting if his pending bill dues are less than Rs.10.

"Our figures reveal that about 20 to 25 percent of the requests are not being ported and partly the reasons are contractual obligations, amount outstanding and the number not being properly recorded," said TRAI chairman J.S. Sarma.

"As far as the (balance) amount is concerned...we found that sometimes the balance is 25 paise or 50 paise that is why they (operators) are refusing (porting)," he added.

The regulator has given 10 days' time to telecom operators to report compliance with the authority's directive.

It's not that the operators have been asked to forgo Rs.10. "There is always a possibility that they can say that they have raised the final bill that will be paid by the subscriber subsequently," Sarma added.

According to service providers and their two associations - Cellular Operators Association of India and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India - the main reasons for rejection of porting requests were outstanding amounts of the previous bill and contractual obligations.

Mobile number portability is a facility which allows a customer to change his operator without letting go his phone number. It was launched across the country Jan 20.

So far, over 6.4 million customers have used this service to switch their mobile phone operators in the country.

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