Another mobile operator shuts shop

Another mobile operator shuts shop

Service provider asks subscribers to migrate

Amid continuing uncertainty over the proposed 2G spectrum auction following cancellation of telecom licences by the Supreme Court, yet another mobile operator Loop Telecom has decided to down its shutters in India.

With this, the Loop Telecom will be the third operator to shut shop in India, after S Tel and Etisalat DB, whose names figured in the 122 licences cancelled by the apex court. 

The Loop Telecom, which had bagged pan-India telecom licence in 2008 when A Raja was the Union telecom minister, has asked its subscribers to make use of the mobile number portability (MNP) to port their mobile number to other operator as the company plans to stop its services, barring  in the Mumbai circle, by next month.

The company said:“Customers are encouraged to ‘port out’ their Loop mobile number to a network of their choice as soon as possible or till 30th April, 2012 by following the process prescribed by India’s telecommunications regulator the TRAI.”

Loop Telecom has just around 6,000 subscribers in 13 circles (excluding Loop Mobile Mumbai).

The 13 circles where Loop Telecom is closing down its operations are: Haryana, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Kolkata, North-East, Uttar Pradesh (West) and Rajasthan.

However, its Mumbai operations (where the firm is known as Loop Mobile for which it had got licence prior to 2008 and was earlier being operated as BPL Mobile) will continue as it is.

Earlier, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report had said that Loop Telecom had suppressed facts, its authorised share capital was much less than required, and it did not have telecom as the main object clause in its memorandum of association, among other flaws.

In its 2G telecom scandal charge sheet, too, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged five executives of Essar and Loop telecom as part of a multi billion telecom fraud.

Meanwhile, the Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to seek legal opinion on whether foreign investors like Sistema of Russia and Norway’s Telenor can claim damages from India under bilateral investment protection treaties, in the wake of cancellation of their telecom licences.

It may be noted that both Telenor (JV partner in Uninor) and Sistema (JV partner in SSTL- Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd) have invoked bilateral treaties to secure their investments in the country.

Behura’s bail plea referred

The Supreme Court on Monday referred the bail plea of former Telecom secretary Siddharth Behura to a bench which had heard the applications for release of other 2G scam accused, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya decided to place the matter, also concerning the bail of erstwhile Telecom Minister A Raja’s personal secretary R K Chandolia, before the bench comprising  justices Singhvi and H L Dattu. The court also questioned the CBI’s stance opposing Behura’s bail plea.

“What degree of influence could he exercise now on witnesses,” the bench asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Mohan Parasaran.

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