18 lakh phones go silent after Uninor shuts services in Mumbai

Feb 18, 2013, 07:08 IST | A Correspondent

Following Supreme Court order on Friday asking non-winners of fresh 2G spectrum to close down immediately, telecom operator ceased services from Saturday midnight

On Saturday, more than 18 lakh customers were left in the lurch after their phones went silent after telecom operator Uninor closed its services in the city following the Supreme Court’s order on Friday, which said that “telecom firms which were unsuccessful in availing fresh 2G spectrum, and those which did not participate in the auction process, will cease to operate forthwith”.

A statement issued by the company read: “Uninor had no choice but to follow the court’s order. On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered mobile operators that had not won spectrum to close down immediately. Uninor managed to send SMSes to all its subscribers before closing down its network due to the court order.”

Commenting on the issue, Uninor spokesperson said, “Uninor is bound by law to comply with the order of the SC and will therefore have to close down its mobile network immediately. We hereby advice all its customers and business partners that for now the Uninor network in Mumbai will not be available.” Uninor’s customers, who are all mostly on prepaid plans, are left fuming after their services cancelled. They also complained of the financial losses they have to incur owing to operations shutting down in the city.

Priyanka Jain, a Uninor customer, said, “I am using the prepaid services of this company for the last 18 months and till Saturday there was no problem at all. Then on Saturday night, I received a text message stating that owing to some court decision, services in Mumbai will stop. I get important calls on this number and now this is a huge inconvenience to me. I had even recharged my phone on Saturday morning with Rs 100.”

Echoing the same helplessness, Darshan Dhoke, an Andheri resident said, “I have been using the services for more than eight months and it is really unfortunate that the services have stopped working. It is creating a lot of problem for the customers. Since Saturday night I haven’t been able to contact my uncle who is travelling to our village.” The company added that even though services in the city had ceased, networks in other cities will not be disrupted and those travelling to Mumbai will also face no problem.

Spectrum secured
The majority stakeholder of the company, Telenor participated in November 2012 auction through new entity Telewings Communications and won spectrum in six circles. Telenor is now in process of transferring business of Uninor in Maharashtra and Goa, Gujarat, UP East, UP West, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh service areas to Telewings Communications. Uninor said its operations in these service areas “will continue as fresh spectrum for 20 years has already been secured.” 

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