Reliance Communication to shut down voice services from December

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) will shut its voice call service from December 1 pushing its customers to shift to other mobile networks by the end of next month, according to the directions issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday.

The loss-making telecom company is also under a bond coupon deadline which is due on Monday after temporarily halting payments to lenders, Business Standard reported.

Interest payment is the latest test for the debt driven company which has faced many of setbacks at a time when the Indian telecom sector which is also second-largest telecom market is undergoing a tough time due to rigid competition in the sector.

RCom had also called off the merger plans of its wireless services business with Aircel last month citing regulatory delays and opposition from some creditors – a deal which if fructified, could have helped the company to pay some of its debts.

Also, last month RCom said it will close major parts of its wireless business due to losses and robust competition by Reliance Jio’s fee calls and ultra cheap data services. This move will leave about 1,000 to 2,000 workers in the company unemployed by November 30.

However, according to the reports, RCom earlier said that it will continue to run its consumer voice calls and 4G dongle post-paid. The company’s closure of its voice call business might cause inconvenience to its more than seven lakh customers.

Further, reports also suggest that in the past month, it also withdrew a regulatory document seeking a nod to sell its towers and faced another insolvency petition. The company is in a standstill period with lenders and is not paying interest and principal on loans until December 2018.

The company’s profit plunged after the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm, offered free calls and 4G data services to the customers which pushed many consumers to switch to Jio network. Hence after making huge losses the company decided to shut down its 2G and 3G wireless services last month.

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