After the coming of Reliance Jio into the telecom sector back in 2016, the other telecom operators faced heavy competition and some ceded to it very early on. Some of the names in this data tariff war which could not survive the financial wrath included Aircel and Tata Teleservices. Although Aircel decided to wrap up its operations and slipped into insolvency, Tata Teleservices did not meet such an unfortunate fate as Bharti Airtel agreed to merge its operations with the company and made an acquisition offer. Now, Trai in its latest notice, has directed Tata Teleservices to surrender the spectrum which it is holding in many circles.
Tata Teleservices to Give Up 800 MHz Spectrum in 15 Circles
On June 10, Trai issued a direction to Tata Teleservices to surrender its spectrum which it is holding in the 800 MHz band. To recall, TTSL in its letter dated October 31, 2018, had agreed to surrender its administratively allocated spectrum which it held in various circles in the 800 MHz band. The telco had also informed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) about the same in a letter dated October 22, 2018.
With this announcement, TTSL will be giving up 3.75 MHz of administratively allocated spectrum in 800 MHz band in Delhi licensed service area and 2.50 MHz of administratively allocated spectrum in 800 MHz band in fifteen licensed service areas namely, Haryana, Gujarat, Kolkata, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh (West), Uttar Pradesh (East), Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa.
This implies that now TTSL won’t be able to continue providing CDMA services in the abovementioned circles. Back in December, Trai had asked the telecom operator to provide subscriber details like the number of prepaid and postpaid subscribers and subscriber wise information of unspent balance. After TTSL provided the authority with this information, the DoT accepted the surrender of the 800 MHz spectrum by TTSL.
Tata Teleservices to Return Unspent Account Balance to Subscribers
Trai in its direction has also said that since many subscribers must have been forced to port their SIMs to different telecom operators after TTSL’s early surrender of the spectrum, there might be some unspent balance in the subscribers’ accounts. After that, Trai directed that “TTSL should process refund of the unspent prepaid balance amount left in the form of recharge coupon or vouchers or plans of the mobile numbers ported out.” Along with this direction, Trai has also directed the telecom operator to make refunds for the security deposit of the postpaid subscribers of TTSL.
Trai has also put in a clause in its direction, wherein if a subscriber has not ported his or her number to a different telecom operator then they can claim the refund of their unspent prepaid balance electronically to the bank account, by submitting the required details to Trai from various sources like the official Trai website.