Refund of unspent balance and security deposit to customers: TRAI to RCom

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 19, 2018

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday has issued a direction for refund of unspent balance of prepaid mobile subscribers and security deposit of the post paid subscribers pursuant to closure of 2G GSM, CDMA services and discontinuation of voice services in all the licensed services areas by Reliance Communications (RCL), and Reliance Telecom Limited.

The Anil Ambani owned company had announced that it will sell its spectrum, towers, optical fiber network to resolve its outstanding debt issue with lenders. And, according to sources, his brother Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) has emerged as the buyer of the debt-laden Reliance Communications (RCom).

While the companies did not divulge the financial details, banking sources pegged the deal at about Rs 23,000 crore.

Closure of services

Meanwhile, TRAI said Reliance communication on October 30, 2017 intimated the Authority regarding closure of 2G GSM services in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, UP (East), UP (West), Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala licensed service areas with effect from December 1, 2017.

On November 1, it further intimated TRAI regarding discontinuation of its CDMA services and upgrading the network from CDMA to LTE in 800 MHz band, with effect from December 1, 2017, in Delhi, Rajasthan, UP (West), Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat and Kolkata licensed service areas consequent upon approval of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on implementation of scheme of arrangement amalgamation for transfer and vesting of telecommunication business of SSTL to RCL.

RCL and Reliance Telecom (RTL) through their joint intimation on the November 29, informed TRAI regarding discontinuation of voice services by RCL to all its existing subscribers in the licensed service areas including Bihar, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai, and in the licensed service areas of Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, North East, Orissa, and West Bengal by RTL with effect from December 29.

“Pursuant to the closure of 2G GSM and CDMA services and discontinuation of voice services, large number of complaints have been received at TRAI from the subscribers of RCL and RTL, who have either ported out or still not ported out from their network, regarding refund of balance amount left with the RCL or RTL (as applicable) in the form of recharges or vouchers, plans in their prepaid mobile account and non-refund of security deposits for the post paid mobile accounts,” the Authority said in a statement.

Refunding process

In the normal course of MNP, the balance prepaid amount is generally utilised by the prepaid subscribers before deciding to port out their mobile number. However, premature closure of services has forced large number of mobile subscribers of RCL and RTL to port out or lose their mobile numbers and leave behind their unspent prepaid balance amount and security deposit with RCL and RTL, it said.

“In order to facilitate the refund of security deposit of its post paid subscriber, RCL and RTL have been directed to refund the security deposits of all the post paid subscribers, within prescribed time frame,” TRAI said.

For pre-paid subscribers, RCL and RTL have been directed to refund of the unspent balance as per some methods that include refunding the unspent balance to pre-paid subscribers ported out, RCL and RTL have been directed to prepare list of all the prepaid subscribers ported out, recipient operator wise, indicating against each subscriber the un-spent balance in their account at the time of porting and transfer such unspent amount to the recipient operator along with the list, it said.

“The recipient operator shall credit the refund amount received from RCL and or RTL to individual accounts of the subscribers and intimate the same to such subscribers through SMS,” TRAI said in its direction.

Refund of unspent balance to pre-paid subscribers not ported out – the companies have been directed to obtain bank details form the subscribers along with IFS Code and refund the unspent balance electronically, into the bank accounts of the subscribers by the February 15, after verifying the credentials of the subscribers based on the submitted proof of identity and proof of address.

Another method include refund of unspent balance to pre-paid subscribers who neither ported out nor submitted the bank information or claim for refund by means of a crossed cheque at their postal address, TRAI added.

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Published on January 19, 2018
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