In order to protect customers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is likely to issue fresh guidelines for operations of telecom companies that lost their licences after the Supreme Court verdict of 2 February cancelling 122 2G licences.
The regulator is examining issues such as selling recharge coupons and new connections by the nine service providers that will have to surrender their spectrum in four months' time, according to reports.
Companies that are set to lose all or some of their licences are Uninor (a joint venture between Unitech and Telenor of Norway), Loop Telecom, Sistema Shyam (a joint venture between Shyam Telecom and Sistema of Russia), Etisalat DB (a joint venture between between DB Realty and Etisalat DB of the Emirates), S Tel, Videocon, Tata Telecom, and Idea Cellular.
Users have the option of number portability, allowing them to change their service provider without having to change their phone number, but TRAI feels that many customers are unaware that the existing provider cannot extend services beyond four months if it fails to obtain a fresh licence.
Uninor, for instance, has added over 3 lakh customers in the last one week after the Supreme Court ruling, Uninor managing director Sigve Brekke recently said at a press briefing.
According to a senior official of Uninor, as of now there is no restriction by TRAI on their business activity.