Vodafone blocks calls as Loop circles the drain

17 Jun 2014

Vodafone India has blocked calls from Mumbai-based operator Loop Mobile over ‘long overdue’ interconnect fees, the Economic Times writes. The amount owed to the UK-backed cellco was not reported, although a spokesperson for Loop told press that the matter would be resolved today. A statement from Vodafone yesterday said: ‘Incoming calls from Loop Mobile are temporarily restricted due to non-payment of interconnect dues by Loop Mobile.’ Loop has been in dire financial straits since the cancellation of sister company Loop Telecom’s licences for 21 operating areas in February 2012, and the cellco is currently involved in the sale of its Mumbai network and customers to Bharti Airtel, although the transaction has been delayed by the issue of further unpaid dues, this time to Chinese vendor ZTE. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the time of its closure Loop Telecom had launched in 13 circles but had only managed to sign up a total of 6,172 subscribers, most of these (2,369) were in Kolkata, whilst Uttar Pradesh (West) had seen the least success, with the operator having just eight subscribers in that region. Adding to its woes, Loop Mobile’s sole remaining licence, for the Mumbai area, is due to expire this year and the cellco was told by the regulator it must repurchase its spectrum rights at auction in order to continue operating.

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