Mobile service provider Etisalat DB, which operates services under the Cheers brand name, has been facing a network outage since Friday, 23rd January, across all its 15 circles. Although the company has not categorically disclosed a reason for the outage, Reliance Communication(R COM), with which it shares network infrastructure, has reportedly disconnected its services due to non-payment of pending dues, according to The Economic Times.
The ET report cites two industry executives aware of the developments to confirm that R-COM had indeed disconnected the network. R-COM also confirmed that it had disconnected Etisalat’s services since payments had been ‘inordinately delayed by the company without any reasonable cause’. It notes that the two companies had entered a network sharing agreement in 2009 which is estimated to be worth Rs 10,000 crore over a 10-year period.
Etisalat DB had earlier issued a statement admitting that the services had been interrupted due to network related issues beyond its control, and that it was working with its network equipment partners to ensure that the mobile services are restored at the earliest.
The company has one of the lowest subscriber counts in India. It reported 1.67 million subscribers, at the end of December 2011, with around 59,000 monthly additions. The promoters of DB Reality, Etisalat’s JV partner, were arrested in connection with the 2G scam, last year.
UAE’s largest telecom operator Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) had entered the Indian market by picking up a 45% stake in DB Reality promoted, Swan Telecom, for up to $900 million in 2008. Swan was later renamed Etisalat DB Telecom India Pvt Ltd. The company has the license to operate in 15 circles: Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West), Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Licenses for two of these circles were acquired by virtue of it’s acquisition of Allianz Infratech.