Telenor Abruptly Shuts Down In Mumbai

Subscribers to Uninor, the Joint Venture (JV) between Norwegian Telecom group Telenor & Realty Company Unitech Ltd, were in for a rude shock as the company abruptly shut down its services in Mumbai.

Post Saturday 16th midnight, Uninor’s entire subscriber-base, amounting to 1.8 Million (as of December) was faced with a non-working SIM / No network. The company is apparently following the Supreme Court (SC) order that clearly stated any carriers whose permits were revoked and did not win fresh rights to airwaves must stop services. Additionally, the SC even went ahead & refused to grant interim relief or in telecom circles referred to as ‘Temporary License’ to continue operations till a reasonable solution was found.

What happened to Telenor?

We have extensively covered how the company has always been at the center of problems. With two quarreling partners, the company couldn’t get a firm foothold against the competition. Though it did manage to gain licenses to operate in 22 circles, the constant bickering of the stakeholders was appalling.

Even though the two eventually managed to make peace & find a middle ground, the feuds prevented Uninor from re-securing license to most of its circles. Of the 22, it managed to secure working license for only 6. Interestingly, after the break-up, Telenor procured the licenses via its wholly owned Indian entity ‘Telewings Communications’ & the company is currently in the process of amalgamating its business in majority of the active circles into this new entity.

Coincidentally, Uninor is still active within the country & says will continue unabated in the areas it has managed to secure licenses, for 20 years. Additionally, non-Mumbai subscribers like those from Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and other circles will be able to use their Uninor SIMs in the city. Such an abrupt shutdown, though mandated by the SC appears to have inconvenienced almost 2 Lakh subscribers.  Ordinary citizens who have nothing to do with how the licenses are secured shouldn’t be penalized. What do you think?

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