According to the statement by the All Manipur Airtel Workers Union “following continuous attacks by militants on telecom towers and employees associated with the Airtel, the BTS/Mobile Network tower are now switch off which will breakdown the mobile services of Airtel in Bishnupur, Churachandpur, Chandel, Porompat, Senapati, Tamenglong, Thoubal and Ukhrul districts/towns of Manipur state.”
Presently there are 5 Mobile Service Providers (GSM/CDMA) in the North East region – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance and Tata Indicom. The services of almost all the private operators have been affected except state-owned BSNL.
All the five GSM/CDMA service providers operating in the state having threatened to shut down their operations following threats, attacks and extortion notices from different militant groups in the past few weeks.
The decision of the Airtel Manipur Union to switch off all BTS towers of the service provider will lead to the closure of all Airtel network in the state till a amiable solution is brought. However only those customers located in capital city Imphal were currently being able to use their services.
It is significant to say that different militant groups have demanded huge sums of money from the mobile phone service providers in the state, at least two employees of two different companies have been shot in the past two weeks. The police have so far registered as many as six cases of extortion and threats, but no arrests have been made as yet.
UPDATE : We just received official statement from Bharti Airtel stating “Airtel services in Manipur now continue to work as usual, allowing our customers to stay connected with friends & family.”