TRAI directs RCom to refund balance in customers’ accounts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday has directed Reliance Communications (RCL), and Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) to refund unspent balance of prepaid mobile subscribers and security deposit of the post-paid subscribers following complaints from the customers.

This was pursuant to closure of 2G GSM, CDMA services and discontinuation of voice services in all the licensed services areas by the companies.

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

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

Meanwhile, TRAI said Reliance communications 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 its circles including Delhi, Rajasthan, UP (West), Tamil Nadu and Kerala upon approval of Department of Telecommunications on implementation of scheme of arrangement amalgamation for transfer and vesting of telecommunication business of SSTL to RCL.

RCL and RTL through their joint intimation on 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 and Madhya Pradesh, and in the licensed service areas of Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Kolkata, among others by RTL with effect from December 29.

“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.

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.

For pre-paid users

For pre-paid subscribers, RCL and RTL have been directed to refund of the unspent balance as per some methods that include — refund of 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 unspent balance in their account at the time of porting and transfer such unspent amount to the recipient operator along with the list, TRAI 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.

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.

Published on January 19, 2018

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