Telecom operator Uninor to shut operations in West Bengal

Kolkata, Dec 17 (IANS) Telecom firm Uninor Monday said it will close down operations in Kolkata and West Bengal circles from Jan 19 next as "no new spectrum (was) being (made) available through auctions" next year.

The company, in a release here, said it would issue a public notice to all its customers in Kolkata and West Bengal, requesting them to exhaust their mobile phone's balance by Jan 18 and utilise mobile number portability to another operator.

"The Supreme Court had quashed Uninor's licences through its order on February 2, 2012. With no new 1,800 Mhz spectrum auctions being indicated by the authorities and 900 Mhz spectrum also likely not be available to auction winners in 2013, the company will have to stop its operations in the two circles of Kolkata and West Bengal on January 19, 2013," the release said.

In the Kolkata and West Bengal circles, the company, in which Norwegian telecom firm Telenor holds a majority stake, has a total subscriber base of 5.6 million.

"In Kolkata and West Bengal, our focus now is on conducting the process of closure with full transparency and responsibility to minimise the negative impact this outcome has on all those affected by it," Uninor managing director Sigve Brekke said.

The company said it would 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.

It will also hire placement agencies to assist its employees in such placements. The company said it has suspended supply of new SIM cards and recharges in the two circles with immediate effect.