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Telecom regulator orders operators to restore SMS for all tariff plans to enable porting

Ayushi Kar | | Updated on: Dec 07, 2021
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The news comes within days of Jio’s complaint against Vodafone Idea

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed telecom operators to allow mobile subscribers to send out an outgoing SMS to avail porting facilities irrespective of the tariff plan.

The news comes within days of Jio’s complaint against Vodafone Idea, wherein it was stated that Vi’s new tariff plans disallow consumers below a certain tariff plan from porting out.

“Authority (TRAI).....directs all access service providers (telcos) to enable, with immediate effect, for all mobile subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid, requesting for a unique porting code, the facility to send SMS on shortcode 1900, in order to avail porting facility…...irrespective of the value of the tariff offers/vouchers,” said the TRAI directive.

The process

At present, in order to keep their mobile numbers while changing operators, subscribers need to send out an SMS in order to request for their number to be ported. In the ongoing competition between operators for market share, in the past six months, operators stopped providing outgoing SMS services for their base tariff plan in order to disincentivise customers from porting out, by making it expensive.

Vodafone Idea is charging the biggest premium amongst operators by only allowing outgoing messages on their ₹179 plan, a nearly four-fold increase from the ₹49 plan offered earlier this year where outgoing text messages were allowed. Bharti and Jio, however, offer a lower denomination data plan in comparison to Vi with less than a month validity offering consumers to send outgoing messages to port out, even though their base tariff plans also don’t have outgoing SMS services.

However, with TRAI’s directive, operators’ attempts to game the low-end tariff plans to retain subscribers become futile as sending text messages for porting has essentially become free

Published on December 07, 2021

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