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Uninor to close down operations in Kolkata and West Bengal

Posted on Dec 19, 07:34AM | UNI

In a major setback to its pan India operations, leading telecom operator Uninor has decided to stop functioning in Kolkata and West Bengal circles from January 19 next year.

The action followed the Union government's decision on the spectrum auction processes under which no new 1800 Mhz spectrum auctions would be allocated by the authorities and 900 Mhz spectrum was not likely to be available to auction winners in 2013, company sources here today informed.

They said under the circumstances the company would issue a public notice to all its customers in Kolkata and West Bengal requesting them to exhaust their balance by January 18, 2013 and utilise mobile number portability to port out to any other operator of choice.

Incidentally, Uninor's operations in twelve other circles would also cease to operate from next month following Supreme Court's February 2, 2012 order quashing the company's licenses, the sources informed.

However, Uninor's operations in the Mumbai circle, one of the largest, would continue as before as the Telenor Group, the major Swedish stake holder, had expressed its desire to participate in the second spectrum auction for the Western metropolis.

Meanwhile, the Telenor Group had also secured fresh licenses and spectrum for the next 20 years in six other circles, namely UP East, UP West, Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra (including Goa) through its new company.

The Uninor business would also be transferred to the new company under new partnership agreement.

These six circles together accounted for 80 per cent of Uninor's current subscribers and 83 per cent of its workforce, the sources quoting Uninor Managing Director Stigve Brekke said.

Referring to the future of Uninor emplyees in Kolkata and West Bengal circles, Mr Brekke said like before they were committed to 'actively assisting' them to secure employment outside Uninor.

'Uninor will look to relocate some of its employees from Kolkata and West Bengal to other circles and also provide assistance in securing employment outside the company. The company will also hire outplacement agencies to assist its employees in such placements', the MD quoted to have said.