More than 18 lakh mobile phone users in Mumbai have got disconnected with telecom operator Uninor shutting its services in the city effective midnight on Sunday.
The move follows Supreme Court's order on Friday which said that "telecom firms which were unsuccessful in availing fresh 2G spectrum, and those which did not participate in the auction process, will cease to operate forthwith".
"The court has ordered an immediate closure of operations and no temporary license too is available to allow a gradual process. Unfortunately, we have no choice now but to follow the court's order and close down our network immediately," Sigve Brekke, Managing Director of Uninor said in a statement.
Operations in six circles of Maharashtra and Goa, Gujarat, UP East, UP West, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh will continue as fresh spectrum for 20 years has already been secured, the statement added.
The Supreme Court had in February last year cancelled 22 licences of Uninor, along with 100 licences of other telcos, that were issued during A Raja's tenure as Telecom Minister.
The majority stakeholder of the company, Telenor, participated in November 2012 auction through new entity Telewings Communications and won spectrum in six circles.
Telenor is now in the process of transferring business of Uninor in Maharashtra and Goa, Gujarat, UP East, UP West, Bihar and Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh service areas, to Telewings Communications.
"Uninor will extend all possible assistance to its employees in Mumbai for finding new employment opportunities. This will include, among others, evaluating opportunities in other circles where Uninor's operations continue. Additionally, outplacement agencies will be hired to secure placements outside the company," the statement said adding, "Uninor will ensure a transparent and comprehensive settlement towards all its distributors and retailers. The company will also engage with its business partners to evaluate the possibility of redeploying network infrastructure to other circles such as Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat where Uninor operations are continuing."