KOLKATA: The Delhi High Court has dismissed Reliance Jio Infocomm’s appeal against an order quashing the telecom regulator’s decision to cut a key porting fee by nearly 80%. This paves the way for mobile number portability service providers Syniverse Tech and MNP Interconnection to claim Rs 120 crore of dues from telcos.
The Mukesh Ambani-led telco had on April 1appealed against the court’s March 8 verdict that junked a 15-month-old Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) regulation cutting per port transaction charge to Rs 4, from Rs 19. The high court had called Trai’s regulation illegal.
Jio said mobile number portability (MNP) service providers had suppressed information relating to porting fees, and “third-party (read: telco) interests are likely to be affected” if its claims are not accepted.
Syniverse Tech and MNP Interconnection said they had consistently kept telcos, including Jio, in the loop that the reduced porting fee of Rs 4 was sub judice. The Delhi High Court, in an order dated May 3, said the “review petitioner’s (Jio) complaint about being unfairly kept out of the proceedings is not borne out” as invoices show the MNP service providers revealed to telcos that “the per port transaction charge fixed at Rs 4 was under challenge.”
The stakes are high as dismissal of Jio’s appeal paves the way for both MNP service providers to recover roughly Rs 120 crore of porting free arrears retrospectively from February 2018 from telcos.
“Delhi High Court’s March 8 verdict was well written, and its subsequent May 3 order, has removed all ambiguity that PPTC has remained Rs 19 since the beginning,” Himanshu Goel, managing director (India, Middle East & Africa), Syniverse, told ET.