Recently Aircel reported to TRAI that it is going to shut down operations in six circles of India. They also informed that they would help direct the customers to join other operator using a Unique Porting Code (UPC). Aircel subscribers of those circles will receive a 30 day notice period. Given this notice period, an Aircel subscriber of that region can port out to any other telecom operator within 10th of March 2018.
On 1st December, Maxis, one of the majority stakeholders of Aircel, informed that they would be handing over the licence in six circles. All of these circles has only 2G operations. The circles on which Aircel will be pulling cords are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (West side), Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana.
All of these circle’s services will keep on running without any issues until 30th January. Aircel would be shutting operations in the said circles by January 30, 2018, and will allow customers to port out another network until March 10, 2018. Aircel further asked TRAI for an exemption. They want TRAI to allow customers who joined in the past 90 days to Aircel Network to port out to other networks. As in general, it is mandatory for a customer to stay on a network for at least 90 days before porting out to other networks.
That six circle accounts for a total of over four million Aircel subscribers. When asked for the reason for such a bizarre decision, Aircel blamed the competitive market in recent times. Ever since Reliance Jio made way into the Indian Telecom services, all the other telecom operators have suffered massive losses. Some operators joined hands with more prominent operators, to keep their business afloat. While on the other hand, some operators just directly decided to shut down their operations. However, Aircel is still among the few operators, still not giving up on their business. Recently some news speculated that Aircel might merge with Airtel soon. However, the authenticity of this report is still unknown.
This close down is all a significant calculated action. A shut down of these six circles would bring an increase in Aircel’s operational profit by Rs 1,500 crore.
In the letter to TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), Aircel stated that,
In view of the constant licensing and regulatory changes in the last 7-8 years and the hyper-competition now prevalent in the telecom industry, they find it extremely difficult and economically nonviable to run their business operations in the aforementioned six circles and constrained to surrender the licenses herewith.
Aircel will now soon start generating the Unique Porting Codes (UPC) for the 4 million subscribers. These codes will be valid until March 10 for every subscriber.
In response to Aircel’s request for exemption, TRAI agreed to it. They will let Aircel customers port out to other networks who joined in the past 90 days. TRAI also asked Aircel to advertise to inform the concerned people. Even TRAI requested Aircel to state the matter on their official website.
Additionally, Aircel is asked to give a detailed report on these subscribers. It needs to give a proper account of their balance, considering the discontinuing of its services.