As the headline itself states, it’s official now. Aircel has filed for Bankruptcy at National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT)- Mumbai bench today, leaving 84 million subscribers across the country in disarray. Aircel, in some circles also stated that the network would go away and even informing users via an SMS to look for an alternate operator to stay connected. Furthermore, the company has joined hands with Airtel for Intra Circle Roaming arrangement and intimating the customers to manually select Aircel 2G network in order to generate a porting code post today midnight.
“The Board of Directors acknowledged that it has been facing troubled times in a highly financially stressed industry, owing to intense competition following the disruptive entry of a new player, legal and regulatory challenges, high level of unsustainable debt and increased losses. This has caused significant negative business and reputational impact on the Company,” said Aircel in a press statement.
This was a long way coming as Aircel is the only small telecom operator left out in the industry to battle with the likes of Airtel, Reliance Jio and others. Aircel has been struggling since 2016, especially after the entry of Reliance Jio to the Indian market. Immediately, the telco announced a merger with Reliance Communications, but the latter lapsed the merger blaming regulatory approvals.
Aircel was reportedly said to be looking for a merger with Bharti Airtel, but that didn’t go through. After all the hurdles, Aircel finally filed for bankruptcy, in-line with a recent report. Aircel currently has a debt of Rs 15,600 crores. Aircel said that “Post detailed discussions with the financial lenders and shareholders, the Company could not reach a consensus concerning the restructuring of its debt and funding.”
This move from Aircel will allow other telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea Cellular to make massive promotion and grab Aircel’s 84 million subscriber base. Aircel even approached telecom regulator Trai to fasten the MNP process, so that the users should not be affected by this move from the company.