Government has issued show cause notices to the top four private mobile operators in the country violating the laws related to Mobile Number Portability (MNP).
As of 2nd May, show cause notices have been issued to Bharti Airtel Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd, Reliance and Vodafone for failing to carry out their duties under the MNP regime. It has also been issued to the smaller operator Loop Telecom (BPL).
The notices were issued after thousands of customers complained about their operators to the government, telecom minister Kapil Sibal told the Lok Sabha.
“In cases where it has been observed that Telecom Service Provider ( TSP ) has violated the provisions of MNP Regulations and Directions, process for legal action as per the provisions of TRAI Act 1997 (as amended) has been initiated,” he said.
Under Mobile Number Portability guidelines, mobile operators should not try to prevent their subscribers from going to another network, by using delaying tactics and other methods.
However, during the same period, the Department of Telecom got 20,509 complaints from consumers about service providers delaying their port out requests quoting one reason or another. The telecom regulator TRAI got another 5,816 complaints.
The largest number of complaints, 8,633, were filed against Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom company. Airtel, being the largest, has also seen the highest number of customers leave it for a rival network.
Airtel was followed by Idea Cellular in generating the largest number of consumer complaints, at 5,325. The two were followed by Vodafone, with 4,409 complaints and Reliance, with 2,453 complaints (see chart.)
Consumer complaints allege that mobile operators are not letting them move out of the network, often by claiming that their MNP servers are down or failing to generate the MNP unique code or other reasons.
Most of the complaints were received by DoT’s TERM (Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring) Cells which can be reached here. These complaints were mostly resolved after the intervention of the Cells.