Telecom operators, including Uninor and MTS, who have lost their licences will have to inform existing subscribers within 10 days about service discontinuation in circles where they have not won spectrum, sector regulator TRAI on Monday said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued direction to Videocon Telecommunications, Unitech Wireless (Uninor), Sistema Shyam Teleservices (MTS) and Tata Teleservices to inform their subscribers in service area where there licence will stand terminated from January 18, 2013.
The closure of services from these telecom operators will have impact around 2.6 crore customers.
The Supreme Court on February 2, 2012 cancelled permits included Uninor's 22 licences, Loop Telecom (21), Sistema Shyam (21), Idea Cellular including Spice Communications (13), Videocon (21), Etisalat DB formerly Swan Telecom (15), S-Tel (6) and Tata Teleservices (3 CDMA licences).
Among these operators, only Tata Teleservices (TTL) informed TRAI that its services in Assam, North East and Jammu and Kashmir shall stand terminated from mid-night of January 18, 2013. The apex court had cancelled CDMA permits of TTL in these service areas.
TRAI has asked all these four players to inform "all its existing subscribers, in such service areas, either in writing or through SMS, within 10 days of issue of this direction and every new subscriber at the time of their enrollment to its network the date of discontinuance of its services."
The regulator has asked the four operators to provide compliance report to it within 15 days on this direction.
Uninor in a statement said it "will issue a public notice to all its customers in Kolkata and West Bengal requesting them to exhaust their balance by January 18, 2013 and utilise mobile number portability to port out to any other operator of choice."
Uninor's majority stakeholder Telenor is in process to get its entire business transferred to new entity, Telewings Communications which has won spectrum in six telecom service area- UP East, UP West, Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra (including Goa).
Uninor, however, said operations in the Mumbai circle are continuing as Telenor Group is evaluating the possibility of participating in the second auction for spectrum in Mumbai as indicated by government.
Videocon won spectrum in 6 circles- Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, UP East and West, while it lost permits in 21 circles.
Russian Conglomerate Sistema-led SSTL has been waiting for hearing of its curative petition filed in May 4, 2012 and did not participate in last month's auction.
Among those whose licences were cancelled, Idea Cellular won spectrum in all circles where it was required to for continuing its operation. Loop Telecom, Etisalat DB and S Tel have already announced closing of their operations in India.