New Regulations Enhance Security for SIM Card Replacement under Mobile Number Portability

Starting July 1, 2024, amendments to Mobile Number Portability (MNP) regulations will be implemented to address the rising incidents of SIM swap and replacement fraud, as announced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Key Amendments to Regulations

TRAI’s latest amendments aim to strengthen security measures surrounding SIM swaps and replacements. These changes are part of TRAI’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from fraudulent activities. According to TRAI, SIM swap or replacement refers to the process where an existing subscriber acquires a new SIM card to replace a lost or non-functional one.

Enhanced Criteria for Unique Porting Code (UPC) Allocation

One of the significant changes includes a revised criterion for rejecting Unique Porting Code (UPC) requests. Under the new rules, UPCs cannot be issued within seven days of a SIM swap or replacement, which was previously ten days.

Evolution of Mobile Number Portability (MNP)

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) allows users to retain their mobile numbers when switching between telecom providers within India, promoting competition and consumer choice. The Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009, have undergone multiple revisions (eight amendments) over the years to streamline and enhance the MNP process.

Stakeholder Perspectives

During the consultation process, stakeholders expressed varying opinions. Some advocated for a shorter waiting period (e.g., two to four days) following a SIM swap or replacement, citing subscriber convenience. However, TRAI balanced these views with the need for robust security measures.

Aim of the Amendments

The primary objective of these amendments is to combat fraudulent practices related to the porting of mobile numbers through unauthorized SIM swap or replacement methods. By enforcing stricter regulations, TRAI aims to safeguard consumer interests and ensure the integrity of the MNP process.

TRAI’s proactive approach underscores its commitment to enhancing consumer protection and maintaining the integrity of telecom services in India. The amendments are expected to provide a more secure and reliable experience for users opting for Mobile Number Portability. This regulatory update marks a significant step towards combating fraud while promoting fair competition among telecom providers.

(With inputs from agencies)

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