Is Aircel shutting down its services in J&K?

Special Correspondent
JAMMU, FEB 22: Thousands of customers of telecom service provider Aircel across Jammu and Kashmir State are in quandary following the rumours about closure of its service.
The reports of winding up of operations by the company have not only been causing mayhem in the market but also making the customers to virtually lay siege to company outlets here.
The Aircel customers across the State have been trying to port their numbers after facing frequent call drops, amidst reports of the company facing financial distress.
According to some of the customers they were neither able to make a call nor receive and they termed it as the first step towards total closure of services. Some complained that they were unable to use the mobile number porting facility due to network issues.
It is the responsibility of the company to serve its customers which it has failed to do, said Surinder, a customer.
Vishal Singh, another customer informed that several users across its circle have been facing network issues for the past few days. According to a few posts on Social media, a few users have not had network on their Aircel numbers for the past few days, he added.
The Aircel Company should keep the services operational atleast for two weeks so that customers do not suffer, said Ravinder Gupta, a Retailer. “The dealers and retailers of the company are going to face heavy loss which will make their families to suffer,” he said.
The company should refund amount of vouchers of retailers which have been surrendered as dead stock for the last 11 months, said another retailer.
Preety, a social activist said customers who have recharged their prepaid SIMs under different plans have faced loss worth thousands of rupees.
Not only this, Retailers who have Lapu SIMs for instant recharge as advance balance running into lakhs in individual accounts, Preety said, adding the Company should have issued notice so that customers could be able to port their numbers.
As per some reports, Aircel is facing legal issues with one of the telecom tower companies due to non-payment of dues, because of which the network was snapped by the tower company across India causing a network problem, stated Rahul, a student. Aircel’s response to its customers on social media is that ‘there is some technical issue going on at these locations, which will take some time to get rectified’, he stated.
All the Aircel customers are facing this problem as it is not confined to particular area, said Ajit Singh, another customer.
Moreover tower generators have no fuel to run, said an employee on condition of anonymity.
The company has engaged number of Security guards who are at the verge of losing their jobs due to rumours of winding up of operations in Jammu and Kashmir state.
This, along with media reports of the company looking to file for bankruptcy, has caused panic among people, resulting in lakhs of customers trying to port out of the network.
Number of Aircel customers across J&K tried to port their numbers after facing frequent call drops, amidst reports of the company facing financial distress.
Due to the extremely large volume of customer requests to port out, Aircel’s infrastructure came under severe stress and it was not able to handle the increased load.
Anurag Gulati, COO Aircel could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.
It is to mention here that Aircel, the private telecom operator based in Gurugram, is going through tough times. The company is facing a severe fund crunch and has told its employees to be prepared for the worst. On January 30, Aircel shut down operations in six circles viz Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (West).
The company had then stated that it was finding it difficult to operate in the highly competitive business atmosphere. The entry of Reliance Jio in September 2017 triggered an intense price war which has seen the company struggling with its finances.
Aircel has been badly affected by the upheaval that the Indian telecom industry has been through, post the entry of Jio. From a quarterly operating profit of Rs 120 crore in July 2016, Aircel slipped to an operating loss of Rs 120 crore by December 2017.
There are also reports that Aircel will soon file for bankruptcy at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The telecom company, which has a Rs 15,500 crore debt, has dissolved its board.
Last year, Aircel and Reliance Communications had planned to join hands but the deal did not materialise.