The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has directed Etisalat DB and S Tel to resume services within three days. Following the Supreme Court judgment which invalidates their licenses after June 2nd 2012, the two telcos had decided to discontinue operations.

The TRAI proffers that the decision to shut down services is not in line with existing regulations or the Supreme Court judgement: firstly, as per the Supreme Court judgement, the order quashing the licenses shall become operative only after four months from the date of judgment, i.e. on June 2nd 2012, since the judgment was delivered on the 2nd of February 2012; secondly, since under the provisions of the UAS License, the license can be surrendered with a 60 day notice period, for the duration of which, services have to be kept active. The TRAI appears to be in the right.

The TRAI also adds that MITS a MNP service provider has told the TRAI that STel has disconnected its links with the MNP clearing house for Zone 2 with effect from 27th Feb 2012. STel, in its letter to the TRAI, claims that following the Supreme Court judgment, there were en-masse network disconnections by its our network infrastructure service providers, and vendors withdrew “the support and links to our MSCs, including the managed services of our network.”

Etisalat has said that it does not intend to continue its operations in India after 31st March 2012.

Looks like both companies will have to resume services now, but given that they hardly had any customers, they should ideally be allowed to port them out as quickly as possible and shut shop. The rules are the rules, so they don’t have a choice: they’ll have to keep services active despite having decided to shut shop.