RCom to end voice calls from 1 Dec; Trai asks carrier to allow porting till end-Dec
04 November 2017
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has directed Reliance Communications (RCom) to keep porting codes active till December-end to enable customers wanting to get out of the carrier's network to other service networks.
With the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications stopping all 2G and 3G voice call services in 17 telecom circles in the country from 1 December, Trai wants to smoothen the process for subscribers porting out to other service providers.
Trai specifies that ''RCL (Reliance Communications Limited) shall provide only 4G data services to its customers and as a result will discontinue to provide voice services to the subscribers… with effect from 1st December 2017.''
Rcom has informed Trai that it is giving 2G and 4G benefits in eight telecom circles of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, UP East and West, Haryana, and Kerala and that it will update CDMA system of Sistema Shyam Teleservices, which has been converged with it, to give 4G benefits in Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, UP West, Rajasthan, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat and Kolkata benefit territories.
Trai said RCom has provided all the vital information regarding the closing of voice calls along with alternatives to port out any services if subscribers do not wish to proceed with 4G data service of the organisation.
Accordingly, Trai has directed RCom to not dismiss any port-out demand of its supporters and requested that all telecom services acknowledge demand of RCom endorsers till 31 December 2017.
RCom, reeling under debt of around Rs46,000 crore, decided to close down its voice call services after it failed to close its wireless business merger deal with Aircel in the start of this month. RCom and Aircel had in September last month consented to a binding agreement to merge their mobile phone services. Yet, RCom said the understanding slipped by attributable to valid and service vulnerabilities, complaints by interested parties and delays in getting relevant approvals.
The regulator has also directed MNP providers to allow 'porting out' for RCom's customers who may have joined the network less than 90 days ago, but not beyond 31 December. Subscribers who have been acquired by RCom in the last 90 days would typically not have been able to port out to other operators, as per current regulations.
RCom had said on October 30 that it will sell its telecom tower, spectrum and real estate businesses to pay off Rs 27,000 crore of its total debt of Rs 45,000 crore, while lenders will convert part of their debt to equity to gain 51 per cent control.
This means other telecom operators will get a chance to woo the 70 million customers of RCom from 1 December or earlier.