Tata Teleservices (TTSL) must return unspent balance and security deposits to customers after it surrendered CDMA spectrum and closed services in 16 circles across the country.
TRAI said: "Pursuant to the discontinuation of services in the licensed services areas, by TTSL, a large number of subscribers, both pre-paid and post-paid, rnay have been inconvenienced and forced to port out their mobile numbers to other service providers or they would not be able to use the services beyond the sunset date of February 28, 2019."
TTSL discontinued services and returned spectrum following a deal with Bharti Airtel and as per which Airtel will absorb TTSL's consumer mobile business operations in 19 circles (17 under TTSL and 2 under Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd), while taking on a small portion of TTSL's unpaid spectrum liability.
In October 2017, Tata Tele had nearly 40 million subscribers which had shrunk to about 16 million at March end, as per regulator’s data.
TTSL surrendered administratively allocated spectrum in 800 MHz band and closed services under the CDMA technology in Gujarat, Kolkata, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, UP(West), UP(East), Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa.
As per TRAI’s order, cheques will have to be issued to pre-paid customers equal to amounts of unspent balance in their accounts, if the value is more than Rs 10, while post paid customers will get their balances transferred electronically into their bank accounts. A compliance report has to be submitted by the telco by August 20.