Trai moves court against Airtel, Idea, Loop for allegedly rejecting portability reque


12 Jan 2012
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Trai moves court against Airtel, Idea, Loop for allegedly rejecting portability requests

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Wednesday summoned three telecom companies - Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Loop Mobiles - and their top executives for allegedly rejecting number portability requests from their subscribers in violation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) regulations.

The summons were issued by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav for May 25 after Trai moved the court claiming that the telecom majors failed to reply satisfactorily to its show cause notices for the alleged violation of norms that permitted subscribers to switch over from one service provider to another without change of their mobile phone numbers.

Besides the three companies, CMM Yadav sought the presence of Bharti Airtel's CEO Sanjay Kapoor, its director (legal and regulatory affairs) Jyoti Pawar and vice-president (head and regulatory affairs, Mobile Services) Ashwani Rana. The executives summoned from the Idea Cellular Ltd included its managing director Himanshu Kapania and its chief corporate affairs officers Rajat K Mukarji. The Loop Mobiles (India) Ltd officials, who have been summoned by the court, are its managing director Sandip Basu and chief regulatory officer Harish Kapoor.

"In my considered opinion, there is enough material on record to proceed against the accused persons for offence punishable under section 29 of Trai Act for violation of Regulation 12 of the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations. Let accused persons be summoned," the judge said.

Filing a petition, the telecom regulator said after it launched mobile number portability in January 2011, it had directed all service providers including Bharti Airtel, Idea and Loop Mobiles to furnish compliance of various provisions of the Telecom Portability Regulations. However, when the telecom regulator ascertained the correctness of compliance (for number portability) by the three firms and obtained data pertaining to porting requests (to them) for a given period, it found certain requests had been illegally rejected, Trai's counsel Saket Singh told the court.

The court noted the Trai's submission that the offence committed by the companies in respect of violation of the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009 was continuing.

In its complaint against Bharti Airtel, the telecom regulator said the firm had rejected porting requests from its subscribers on grounds of "subscribers having withdrawn porting requests" and "contractual obligations." Singh said Bharti Airtel had violated its regulations in Karnataka, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (West), Gujarat and various other circles by rejecting several requests for number portability. In its complaint against Idea Cellular, Trai said the company had on February 9, 2011 said it fully complies with the Trai's regulations on cell number portability. It was, however, found that Idea had rejected 67 porting requests in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh and various other circles on various grounds, including those of contractual obligations, UPC mismatch and outstanding dues and failed to furnish information with regard to rejections due to contractual obligations.

In its reply in July 2011, Idea said certain rejections happened due to lack of clarity on portability mechanism and since UPC rejections during February 2011 were handled manually, it led to many unintentional rejections of porting requests. On rejections due to contractual obligations, Idea said it was due to lack of understanding of specific parameters to be considered under the head. With regard to Loop Mobiles, Trai said the company rejected certain porting requests in Mumbai circle under the category of "act of God" and certain on ground of "contractual obligations" and "outstanding payment dues".

It said, in reply to a show cause notice, Loop informed that due to some technical error, the system wrongly captured the code "act of God".

Trai said it also sought supporting information with documents from Loop in September 2011 in respect of porting request but its requests were rejected by the firm under "contractual obligations" and the complaint received by it (Trai) during September 2011. The telecom firm failed to furnish the information sought by Trai, the complainant said.

Even while submitting the explanation to show cause notice, Loop Mobile did not provide copies of contractual agreement entered with the customers whose porting requests were rejected on the ground of contractual obligations," the complaint said.

Source : Economic Times
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