Over the coming weeks, over 4 crore Tata
Teleservices customers will be automatically shifted to the Airtel
network under an intra-circle roaming (ICR) arrangement, according to the two companies. However, Telecom regulator Trai is looking to raise objections to the transition.
According to Bharti Airtel, the first batch of the transition was being effected in UP (West), Bihar, and West Bengal.
"Over the coming weeks, all consumer mobile customers of Tata
Teleservices across all circles will gradually transition to the Airtel
network," the company said in a statement last week.
Group had recently announced that the Consumer Mobile Businesses of Tata
Teleservices Limited and Tata
Teleservices Maharashtra Limited will be merged into Airtel.
Trai said the prescribed procedure is being violated through a direct-transfer route. "Customers are not captive property of any company. They cannot be automatically shifted," a top official with Trai told TOI.
"Customers have a right to choose an operator of their choice in case his/her existing company decides to merge/close down or sell its operations. This can be exercised through the mobile-number portability
route," the official said.
Airtel, in a statement to Business Standard
, however, stated, "This is a standard ICR arrangement under which Tata
Teleservices customers get access to the Airtel
network. They continue to be Tata
Teleservices customers enjoying the services being provided by Tata
Teleservices. In no way does it curtail the choice of customers as they are free to shift to any network/operator they want to."
Airtel-Tata Teleservices deal
Under the arrangement, Tata
Teleservices customers will be able to enjoy uninterrupted services on the Airtel
network with their existing SIMs and billed as per their existing plans/pack benefits.
Telecom players had recently announced an agreement to merge the consumer mobile businesses of Tata
Teleservices and Tata
Teleservices Maharashtra into Airtel.
Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer, Bharti Airtel
assured that the "transition will be fully seamless and nothing changes for Tata
customers, who will continue on the same SIM and plan".
Fair trade regulator CCI
has approved Bharti Airtel's deal to takeover the loss-making consumer mobile business of Tata
The deal will also require the approval of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), stock exchanges, National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), and Telecom Department among others.
For Airtel, the deal would be the seventh acquisition in five years.
As part of the agreement, TTSL and TTML employees in the 19 circles, managing the consumer mobile business, along with 178.5 MHz of spectrum
across 800, 1800, 2100 Mhz (3G, 4G) bands would be transferred to Airtel.
While all of the Rs 31,000 crore debt will remain with the Tatas, Airtel
will assume close to 20 per cent of the Rs 9,000-10,000 crore deferred payments for the spectrum.