Loop looking for leeway whilst DoT considers takeover

20 Oct 2014

Loop Mobile has sought to delay an order instructing it to inform its customers of the cellco’s imminent closure until 31 October, in the hope that the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will approve Loop’s acquisition by Bharti Airtel before that date. The Times of India writes that in a letter dated 30 September, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ordered Loop to tell its customers about its closure by letter or SMS within ten days. Due to a shortage of funds, Loop was unable to compete to renew its licence earlier this year and its existing concession is scheduled to expire in late November. However, the Mumbai-based cellco struck a deal with Airtel under which it would transfer its equipment and subscribers to the larger operator – ensuring continuity of services for its users. The agreement has run into a number of difficulties and has yet to be green lit by the DoT.

In a related development the Economic Times writes that the UK-backed provider Vodafone India has begun poaching subscribers from Loop, securing the lion’s share of subscribers porting out of the cellco. As many as 43% of the 253,000 users that have ported out of Loop have gone to Vodafone, whilst 19% went to Airtel and 20% to Reliance Communications (RCOM). Loop represented some 2.84 million subscribers at the end of June 2014, but Airtel is reportedly concerned over the erosion of Loop’s customer base through mobile number portability (MNP).