Trai is again tightening the noose on Aircel’s working. This time the regulator has asked the already bankrupt company to refund security deposits of all postpaid subscribers and to submit a compliance report by May 10. Besides that, the telecom company has also been guided to compile a list of all the customers who have ported to another network along with the unspent balance of these customers. To accomplish this task, Trai has also told the carrier to issue a public notice on its website and newspaper and on related channels, asking for customer’s bank account details for taking forward the transaction to security deposit refund. The regulator has set a deadline of April 26 for this.
The official direction to Aircel reads the following “Furnish compliance report of this direction to the Authority by 20 May, 2018, together with the unspent prepaid balance amount along with a number of subscribers available with Aircel Group to whom refund could not be provided and reasons thereof of such failure.”
There have been numerous cases on Aircel’s part where customers have not been able to port their numbers to other networks owing to technical failures or other related issues. Along with these customers, people who have successfully ported to other networks also had some complaints to make against Aircel. These complaints have finally forced Trai to take stringent action this time.
Trai also told publicly that the complaints which were received constituted of matters like a refund of leftover balance amount with Aircel in the form of recharges or vouchers, or plans in their prepaid mobile account and also about the non-refund of security deposits for the postpaid mobile accounts.
The order which Trai passed on Monday guided the other telcos who had received a refund from Aircel to route the leftover balances to the consumer’s accounts. The regulator also asked these telecom giants to intimate the subscribers about the same via text messages. The report about the same issue from Trai quoted “All access providers (must) submit compliance to the Authority within two days of receipt of such details from Aircel Group.”
In February Trai asked Aircel to keep porting codes valid till April 15, in an attempt to ease the movement of subscribers to other carriers in circles where the company was putting a full-stop to its operations. Trai again passed an order last week which extended the previous order of keeping the porting codes valid.
Aircel, which had previously expanded its operations pan-India retracted its network from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (West) circles by January end. Post facing immense competition from the likes of Reliance Jio the company finally filed for bankruptcy in March. Before that Aircel boasted of 81 million customers as revealed by Trai data.