16 mn MTS subscribers may face disconnect
The fate of more than 16 million mobile service subscribers of Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (TTSL), which operates services under the MTS brand, hangs in the balance with the company deciding not to participate in the coming 2G spectrum auction. Manoj Gairola reports.india Updated: Oct 24, 2012 22:02 IST
The fate of more than 16 million mobile service subscribers of Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (TTSL), which operates services under the MTS brand, hangs in the balance with the company deciding not to participate in the coming 2G spectrum auction.
The company currently offers CDMA-based services in 14 circles including Delhi and Mumbai. It has more than 1.7 million users of data services.
According to a Supreme Court order in February, MTS will not be allowed to offer services after January next year. The company had to participate in the forthcoming auction to continue services.
However, it has not applied to participate in the bids since it believes it has not done anything wrong.
The company instead filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court.
Customers are confused.
“I bought MTS’ data card a couple of months back,” said Surendra Panwar, an executive with a private firm. “I do not know whether it will be able to use the same instrument if I am shifted to any other operator.”
MTS' data services are very popular due to their quality. Under mobile number portability (MNP), subscribers can shift to other operators while retaining their mobile numbers. However, since there is no SIM (subscriber identity module) in a data card, it is not clear how the subscribers will be shifted.
“Moreover, a subscriber may not get all the value-added services on the same data card, if he is shifted to other CDMA operators,” said an official of MTS.
The company, however, ruled out any interruption in services.
“There is no question of customers suffering as we have a strong case in the Supreme Court," said an MTS spokesperson. “There is no finding or suggestion by the CAG (government auditor) report that CDMA spectrum was equally or anywhere near in demand as GSM.”
“SSTL believes it has a strong case and is determined to await its hearing. In this context, and considering the level of recommended spectrum prices which makes the business case unviable, SSTL had no choice other than not to take part in the 2G auction for 800 Mhz. SSTL would like to once again reiterate that it is hopeful that the highest court of the land will speedily look into the merits of its case and will give it justice,” the statement added.
“SSTL has maintained that it has been unfairly penalised in the February ruling and has filed a curative petition seeking to restore its licences,” said a spokesperson of SSTL.
“Shifting data users of MTS would really be a challenge and right now we cannot say anything more on it,” said an official of the Department of Telecommunications.