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TMCNet:  Tata telecom withdraws from Indian-controlled Kashmir

[January 02, 2013]

Tata telecom withdraws from Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Jan 02, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Tata Teleservices Limited has windup its operations in Indian- controlled Kashmir and by Jan. 18, the telecom operator -- Tata Docomo -- will cease to provide mobile telephone and internet service to its thousands of subscribers.

The company's decision to withdraw from Indian-controlled- Kashmir has been taken following a decision by India's Supreme Court that 122 2G licenses issued by former Telecom Minister, A Raja in 2008 were illegal.

"Tata Teleservices license for the circle of Jammu and Kashmir was part of the 122 licenses of various operators which were canceled by the Honorable Supreme Court in Feb. 2012.

Consequently, Tata Teleservices is constrained to withdraw from Jammu and Kashmir with effect from Jan. 18, 2013 and as a result your connection will be deactivated post Jan. 18 2013," reads a communication that Tata is sending to its subscribers.

The court had said that the airwaves should be re-auctioned by the Indian government, and that all the companies that had lost their permits till Jan. 18 needed to find a way to continue offering telecom services or windup.

The court decision has also affected the company in India's Northeastern states.

Tata Teleservices initially applied to participate in the fresh auction to get its permits back, but later decided to withdrew its applications on Nov. last year, pushing thousands of its subscribers in lurch.

According to reports the company has 113,000 subscribers in Indian-controlled Kashmir and 207,000 subscribers in India's Northeastern states.

The company's decision has also made its employees in these regions jobless. The Tata's internet subscribers are criticizing it for not taking the internet devices back.

"We purchased the devices by depositing around Rs 2000 (40 U.S.

Dollars) but now with company withdrawing from the region, these devices will be rendered useless," said Mohammed Mohsen, a subscriber. "They should make a provision to collect these devices back and refund the money." Though Tata has been urging mobile telephone subscribers to switch over to some other service providers, however, no such communication has been sent so far to its internet subscribers.

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