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“Network closure not permitted without surrendering license”: TRAI to Videocon

India’s telecom regulator TRAI clarified (pdf) that Videocon cannot shut down operations in Punjab circle since the telco will have to surrender its Unified Access Service (UAS) license to carry out a network closure. The regulator instead directed Videocon to “comply with all the provisions of the Unified Access Service License, ensure continuity of service to its subscribers and maintain the quality of service till its license is operational.” Under existing license regulations (in UAS), a telecom company can shut down services only if the license is surrendered or is terminated or suspended. “Since none of these eventualities have occurred in the instant case, the conditions of UASL do not permit  Quadrant Televentures to discontinue its commercial services,” TRAI added. Videocon’s mobile network operations in Punjab is owned and managed by a subsidiary company named Quadrant Televentures, which also runs the “Connect Broadband” fixed line service in Punjab. In a letter to TRAI last month, Quadrant mentioned that it's “unable to surrender” UAL license since it operates fixed line broadband service under the same license, which is valid until 30th September 2017. “We have accordingly informed the DoT regarding the closure of only the GSM mobile services and not any other telecom services,” the company added. Apart from this, the company also sought special permission from DoT to waive the 90-days lock-in period for new customers looking to port out of the network. Videocon announced the closure of its service (in Punjab) in January and also requested existing customers in…

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