TRAI directs Aircel to issue porting codes

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on February 27, 2018 Published on February 27, 2018

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed Aircel to generate Unique Porting Codes (UPCs) in its operational circles where a large number of subscribers are facing difficulties in porting their mobile numbers.

While the operator had shut services in six circles, services in other regions have been hit due to financial problems. GTL Infrastructure had switched off nearly one-third of the total towers due to non-payment of dues and other operators, including Vodafone and Idea, have switched off interconnection in many areas.

The regulator has now asked Aircel to generate UPCs in its remaining 16 circles on both existing service provider and new codes. The circles are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Mumbai, North East, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, UP (East) and West Bengal, sources close to the development told BusinessLine.

This follows disruption of services in the remaining licensed service areas and both pre- and post-paid subscribers are facing difficulties, they said, adding that directions regarding this were issued on Tuesday.

Earlier, Aircel had informed TRAI that its services were severely impacted by after GTL Infrastructure, an independent tower firm, switched off nearly one-third of the total sites across different licensed service areas. GTL Infra had also sued Aircel for outstanding dues and premature rent cancellation.

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had also disconnected interconnect services across many circles. As an emergency measure, Aircel is negotiating with other operators for intra circle roaming arrangements.

Aircel and Dishnet Wireless had earlier informed the regulator that the group was undergoing deep financial crisis due to various reasons, resulting in closing operations of six circles. As of January-end, Aircel closed down services across Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (West).

TRAI has also directed Aircel not to reject any porting-out request of its subscribers whose activation of mobile number in the network is of less than 90 days and to furnish the status of subscribers as on February 22 by March 10.

Aircel was weighing various options, including venturing into 4G services through partnerships and bringing in fresh investments. However, its Malaysian promoter Maxis Communications – which had invested $7 billion to date with “zero return” — has decided against pumping additional funds into the company.

Published on February 27, 2018
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