Aircel has informed telecom regulator Trai that it's shutting down operations in six circles and will direct the customers in those circles with Unique Porting Code (UPC) to join another network. Aircel will notify the customers with a 30-day notice period, and an existing Aircel customer in those regions can port out to another network by March 10, 2018.
Maxis, which has a majority of stake in Aircel informed to Trai on December 1 that it's handing over the licence in six circles where it has 2G operations. And the circles are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh (West).
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 also asked an exemption to Trai that even customers who joined in the past 90 days on Aircel network can also port out. Generally, if a customer wants to port out from a network, he should be on the network for at least 90 days.
Aircel asked to keep the UPC codes valid till “23:59:59 hours of 10th March 2018; not reject any porting-out request of its subscribers whose activation of mobile number in the network of M/s Aircel Group is of less than ninety days.”
Aircel has over four million subscribers in those six regions, and it blamed the competitive market in recent times for its decision to shut down the shop. With the entrance of Reliance Jio, telecom operators have struggled a lot. While some small players chose merger option with bigger players, some directly shut down the operations asking customers to port out. That said, Aircel is the only small operator left out which is not yet giving up. Recently, it was noted that Aircel in closely in talks with Airtel for a possible merger.
The shut down of operations in these circles would boost Aircel's operating profit by almost Rs 1,500 crore.
In the letter, Aircel "informed 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 unviable to run their business operations in the aforementioned six circles and constrained to surrender the licenses herewith,” as stated by Trai.
Aircel will start generating the Unique Porting Codes in a timely manner, and as stated, they will be valid until March 10, 2018.
Trai also agreed for Aircel's request of even porting out customers who joined in the past 90 days and asked the telco to issue advertisement. It also asked to state the matter on the website.
Furthermore, Aircel is also directed to submit the details of all the unported customers along with the unspent balances of the subscribers.