NEW DELHI: The telecom regulator has directed Tata Teleservices to refund the unspent balance of prepaid mobile subscribers and security deposit of postpaid users following its surrender of administratively-allocated spectrum and closure of specific services in 16 circles.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) noted that under normal circumstances, the balance prepaid amount would have been utilised by subscribers before porting out their mobile number.
But premature surrender of spectrum, in this case, has forced a significant number of CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) mobile subscribers of Tata Teleservices (TTSL) to either port out or lose their mobile numbers and leave behind unspent prepaid balance in the form of recharge coupon/plans and security deposit.
Trai asked TTSL to process refund of the unspent prepaid balance (recharge coupon or vouchers/plans) of the mobile numbers ported out, and also the unspent balance in the account of prepaid subscribers who could not port out their number, given they would not be able to avail services beyond February 28, 2019, the sunset date declared by TTSL.
The regulator on Monday directed TTSL to process "the refund of the security deposits of all the postpaid subscribers and submit to the authority the licensed service area wise compliance by August 20, 2019.
The compliance report, Trai said, should mention the number of subscribers whose security deposit have been successfully refunded and number of users along with details of security deposits unclaimed or undelivered.
It has also asked TTSL to prepare a password protected list of all the prepaid subscribers ported out between December 27, 2017 and February 28, 2019, recipient operator wise indicating the unspent balance in their accounts at the time of porting and transfer the said amount to the recipient operator.
The company will have to furnish compliance by August 20, it said.
Trai has also asked TTSL to process refund to the prepaid subscribers who have not been able to port out by February 28, 2019 as per procedure laid down by the authority.
Trai said TTSL should "furnish compliance report of this direction to the authority by August 20, 2019, together with the unspent prepaid balance amount along with number of subscribers available with TTSL to whom refund could not be provided and reasons thereof of such failure".
TTSL had previously informed Trai that the telecom department has accepted its request of surrender of administratively allocated spectrum in 800 MHz in 16 service areas.
These included Gujarat, Kolkata, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha among others.
Bharti Airtel is slated to acquire Tata Group's consumer mobile telephony business, and the deal is now awaiting telecom department's nod.