Bankrupt Aircel negotiating ICR deal with Airtel, Jio

05 Mar 2018
Daily News

In a last ditch attempt to keep its network running, struggling Indian operator Aircel has entered negotiations with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio for intra-circle roaming (ICR) agreements while the company is under bankruptcy protection.

Aircel filed for corporate insolvency last week after failing to reach an agreement with its main lenders on restructuring its 155 billion rupees ($2.37 billion) debt burden.

The company had stressed that the filing is aimed at finding a way to continue operating rather than winding up operations, but major operators such as Airtel have already suspended interconnect services due to non-payment of dues.

Now the operator is seeking a solution to keep the operator's network running so the company can keep its customers, the Economic Timesreported.

Tower partner GTL Infrastructure has meanwhile reportedly shut down part of the carrier's network due to funds owed by Aircel, and the company is also negotiating to bring these parts of the network back online.

Aircel is majority owned by Malaysia's Maxis. The entry of new market entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm in 2016 with an aggressive pricing strategy has resulted in the company losing subscribers and falling to an operating loss.

The company has also seen its market share fall from 8.1% to 7.3% over the past year, with its subscriber base falling from 91 million to 85 million over the same period.

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