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RCom seeks withdrawal of Trai order asking to refund users' unspent balance

Trai of the view that the demand on customer refunds is fully justified as it pertains to premature closure of services by an operator

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Reliance communication, rcom
A man opens the shutter of a shop painted with an advertisement of Reliance Communications in Mumbai. Photo: Reuters

has opposed the telecom regulator's directive asking the company to refund unspent balance of mobile subscribers, in the wake of discontinuation of its voice services.

The (Trai) is, however, of the view that the demand on customer refunds is fully justified as it pertains to premature closure of services by an operator, and therefore, can not be equated with general network port outs cases.

A senior official told PTI that since it is the case of a service provider closing services the "customers must get their unspent balance".

"The situation is not similar to general port out by a consumer, where the consumer chooses the timing of porting out from one network to another network. Here, a service provider has closed services and therefore protection of consumer interest is a must," added the official who did not wish to be named.

(RCom) declined to respond to an email query on the issue.

However, sources familiar with the development said that the service provider has shot off a letter to arguing against the regulators January 19 directive on refunds.

In the letter, has cited the Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009 to highlight that the existing rules mention that the balance amount of talktime at the time of porting "shall lapse", the source pointed out.

"We regret to say that we are unaware of the exact regulation under which a provision exists for refund of balance amount of talk time on a mobile number being ported out for any reason whatsoever ... we request authority to withdraw the direction ... " the source said quoting from RComs written representation to

Meanwhile, is preparing another follow up letter to Trai where it has further argued that there is no precedence of customer refunds being sought in several other cases of operators closing down services in the Indian telecom market.

On January 19, the Trai had directed (RCom) and (RTL) to refund the unused balance of their prepaid customers and security deposits of their post-paid subscribers and report compliance in the coming weeks.

The direction for refund is "pursuant to closure of 2G/GSM, CDMA services and discontinuation of voice services in all the licensed services areas by Reliance Communications Limited (RCL) and Limited".

The move comes at a time when has announced plans to sell its spectrum, towers, optical fibre network and other wireless assets to Reliance Jio, the telecom firm of elder brother Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries.

The industry estimates the blockbuster deal to be valued at Rs 24,000- 25,000 crore.

First Published: Sun, February 04 2018. 16:44 IST