Sword of Damocles hangs over Aircel’s 2G spectrum; DoT asks telco to port 2G customers

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has directed Aircel to take necessary action well in advance to inform its 2G subscribers to provisionally avail mobile number portability (MNP) to continue their services if the Supreme Court passes an order to cancel the smaller GSM telco’s spectrum allocated to it in 2006.


On January 6, the Supreme Court said that it would cancel Aircel’s licence if T Ananda Krishnan and Augustus Ralph Marshall from Malaysia’s Maxis Berhad do not appear in a lower court in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran. Maxis Berhad’s executives own 74 per cent of Aircel’s equity..

In a letter to Aircel, the telecom department said, “Aircel/ Dishnet Wireless is hereby directed to take necessary action well in advance to inform all existing subscribers through SMS to avail the mobile number portability (MNP) facility provisionally for continuity of their mobile service, in case the Supreme Court passes the proposed order, to avoid any inconvenience.”

According to various media reports, the DoT directive applies only for 2G administered spectrum in 14 circles — Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (East) and Uttar Pradesh (West).

Also read: Supreme Court proposes to cancel Aircel’s 2G license, jeopardizes merger with RCom

A majority of Aircel’s present customer base of 91 million are 2G customers. The telco’s 3G and other airwaves were brought through an auction will not to be impacted.

Chief Justice of India JS Khehar had then asked the telecom department to look for an alternative service provider for Aircel’s subscribers, and added that department could even think of auctioning the spectrum off.

The apex court restrained revenue generation from using 2G licenses and stalled transfer of airwaves to a third party.

Aircel subsequently stated that it was not a party to the proceedings pending before the Supreme Court. It had then said that the spectrum belongs to the company, a separate entity, and not Maxis. Aircel also said that it was seeking legal advice on the effects of the orders passed by the Supreme Court for appropriate steps, including preserving its assets.

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60 Comments on "Sword of Damocles hangs over Aircel’s 2G spectrum; DoT asks telco to port 2G customers"


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Pandurangan K
February 5, 2017 11:03 am 11:03 AM

What will happen to the main balance of the Aircel custmers in case of Aircel being shut? Court should order some arrangement to carry his to the porting service providers or at least refund them.

February 6, 2017 6:04 am 6:04 AM

Rare that as AIRCEL

February 6, 2017 6:04 am 6:04 AM

This did not happen when Uninot shut down in Maharashtra why should it happen now. What is so special about Airtel???

February 13, 2017 12:34 am 12:34 AM

who said u uninor shutdown in Maharashtra??

February 5, 2017 11:46 pm 11:46 PM

DOT has already told the SC that it is not feasible to close Aircel’s operations as it is against consumer interest. Meanwhile the grapevine says that Rcom is talking to Telenor for an alternative merger in case this deal fails.

February 7, 2017 3:48 pm 3:48 PM

Telenor is in talks for a 3 way merger, 90% stake with Aircel & RCOM, rest 10% with Telenor.

Will this merger happen?.

February 8, 2017 4:55 pm 4:55 PM

Aircel-Rcom ALWAYS wanted a 3rd investor for future investments, so I do see it as a possibility.

February 2, 2017 9:48 pm 9:48 PM

Update: aircel continues. Charges dropped…

February 3, 2017 12:13 am 12:13 AM

Feb 3 hearing Na ?

February 3, 2017 4:10 am 4:10 AM

CBI special court has acquitted, probably SC will follow. Let’s see?

February 8, 2017 3:44 pm 3:44 PM

Public Prosecutor withdrew the case frm SC due to lack of strong evidence,,, Aircel continues

January 31, 2017 10:53 am 10:53 AM

Former Aircel guy – C Sivasani tells court to cancel the spectrum of Aircel. Reason he was not able to recover the losses from the deal. Hahah

February 2, 2017 5:43 am 5:43 AM

He is a bankrupt businessman trying to evade paying Tata’s even. What do you expect?

February 2, 2017 10:46 am 10:46 AM

Oh, didn’t knew that.

February 2, 2017 9:46 pm 9:46 PM
He shouldn’t talk at all. C. Sivasankaran is famous for lavish living and a number of controversies. He feels Tata should be investigated because Tata asked him to pay 694 Cr rupees as a shareholder to foot the 7250 Cr Docomo arbitration award. He himself declared bankruptcy to avoid paying anything to Batelco when S. tel got it’s licences cancelled and the company shut down as part of 2G scam. This guy is just bitter that he was punished earlier than others. Batelco left India with a huge loss and it’s entirely because of him. Funny that he now says… Read more »