According to latest reports, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked Sistema, Telenor, Videocon and Tata Teleservices to inform their customers of the discontinuation of their services post January 18. According to the Economic Times, these mobile companies had their licenses cancelled following the auctions. TRAI reportedly has given these telecom companies a 10-day deadline to intimate all their users in those circles where they failed to renew their permits, by way of either a text message or in writing. Reportedly, the companies had in all 26 million customers in those circles where they could not renew their permits.
4 telcos to inform users of service termination (Image credit: Getty Images)
According to ET, the move will affect Russia's Sistema, since it is currently seeing a considerable chunk of its user base exit its network while it awaits the Supreme Court's decision on its curative petition against license cancellation. Quoting a spokesman of Telenor's Indian arm, the report added, “While no decision towards any second auction in Mumbai has been taken, Uninor has communicated to DoT it does not plan to issue service closure notices in Mumbai and we will explore possible recourses to see that operations can continue there till any such auction is conducted, allowing us to participate should we decide to do so.”
The Supreme Court recently revoked all 122 telecom licences issued under a scandal-tainted 2008 sale, a fresh embarrassment for the government, which plunged the mobile network market of Asia's third-largest economy into uncertainty. The ruling is a setback for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, which oversaw the sale of the licenses at below-market prices, costing the exchequer up to $36 billion in lost revenues. The licences affected by the ruling included all of those held by Unitech Wireless, the Indian joint venture of Norway's Telenor and Unitech.
Interestingly, the company (Telenor) will be approaching the telecom department for an extension of its Mumbai mobile permit beyond January 18, since it may bid for 2G airwaves in the next auction before March 31, 2013. Telenor reportedly has also announced that it will switch off its network in Kolkata and West Bengal on January 19. The telco, it has been known, has put into effect the 90-day lock-in, owing to which customers across Kolkata and West Bengal will be able to port out of their network, even if they were issued a connection less than 90 days ago.
Telenor has 5.6 million customers in Kolkata and West Bengal and a 726-strong workforce in these circles, 219 of which are direct staff. It has been known that the company will be issuing a public notice to all its customers in both circles, asking them to finish their balance by January 19 or port out to any other operator.