Govt asks Aircel to port 2G customers if Supreme Court order adverse

The directive applies only for 2G administered spectrum in 14 circles as 3G and other radiowaves that Aircel brought through an auction are not to be impacted


The Department of Telecommunications on 18 January wrote to Aircel saying the available facility of Mobile Number Portability can be exercise by the subscribers provisionally. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
The Department of Telecommunications on 18 January wrote to Aircel saying the available facility of Mobile Number Portability can be exercise by the subscribers provisionally. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: The government has asked Aircel to help its 2G mobile customers port their numbers to other telephony operators in case the Supreme Court was to pass an adverse order.

The Supreme Court had earlier this month stated that it would cancel the company’s spectrum licence if executives from Malaysia’s Maxis Berhad, which owns 74% of Aircel’s equity, do not appear in a lower court in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran.

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The directive applies only for 2G administered spectrum in 14 circles as 3G and other radiowaves that Aircel brought through an auction are not to be impacted. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on 18 January wrote to Aircel saying the available facility of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) can be exercise by the subscribers provisionally.

“Accordingly, Aircel/Dishnet Wireless Ltd is hereby directed to take necessary action well in advance to inform all existing subscribers through SMS to avail the Mobile Number Portability facility provisionally for continuity of their mobile service, in case the Hon’ble Supreme Court passes the proposed order, to avoid any inconvenience,” it said.

DoT said the restraint is for use of 2G spectrum originally granted to Aircel Telecommunications in November 2006. The service areas where licences were granted to Aircel/Sishnet Wireless Ltd in 2006 are Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (East) and Uttar Pradesh (West).

Aircel believes it is not a party to the proceedings pending before the Supreme Court and no allegation of wrongdoing has been made against it. It contends that the spectrum belongs to the company, a separate entity, and not Maxis.

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