Reliance Comm cuts service to 4.2 mn users

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 09 April 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: India's second-biggest mobile services firm, Reliance Communications has disconnected over 4.2 million subscribers, which is equivalent to 15 percent of its customers.

As the company was unable to re-verify documentation of entire prepaid user base by the 31 March 2007 deadline set for cellular companies by the Union government.

"As on 31 March, Reliance Communications has completed re-verification of 85 percent of its entire wireless subscriber base, in accordance with the industry-wide requirement from the government's department of telecommunications (DoT) in the interests of national security. In accordance with DoT's requirements, subscribers who could not be verified at the end of the stipulated period, despite intensive efforts made by the company, have been deactivated," the operator said in the statement.

The company clarified that many of the logged-off subscribers may be brought back to the network as the company continues its efforts to check documentation.
�We will continue our subscriber reverification initiatives, and customers submitting the requisite complete documentation will be reactivated within 48 hours,� the company said in the 6 April statement. The 4.2 million disconnections took place in April, a second Reliance Communications spokesman said from Mumbai.

Reliance Communications expects a �large number of customers to come back� and its �numbers to be no different from industry� averages, said a spokesman for Reliance. The DoT, worried about the use of mobile phones by criminals, had asked cellular firms to disconnect services to customers who did not have documentation, such as a proof of address, which is mandated under government rules before issuing a connection.

A sample study by the telecom department last year had found that two out of five prepaid cellular customer accounts did not have such documents. About 85 percent of cellphone customers in India are prepaid subscribers who pay their bills through recharge vouchers bought from any of the thousands of retailers spread across the country reported a business daily.

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