Struggling Indian operator Reliance Communications will stop offering 2G voice services in eight circles from December as a cost saving measure.
Telecoms regulator Trai has issued a direction stating that RCom plans to discontinue 2G GSM services in eight telecoms circles after the closure of the merger between RCom and Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), providing only 4G data services.
RCom also plans to use the merger to upgrade its network from CDMA to LTE using the 800-MHz band in nine circles including Delhi.
Trai has requested that all operator honor any porting requests from existing RCom customers and directed RCom not to deny any such requests from its own subscribers until the end of the year.
RCom has been reconsidering its operations after failing to clinch a proposed merger with Aircel due to regulatory uncertainty and the objections of some creditors.
The operator is grappling with debt of around 450 billion rupees ($6.95 billion) and had been hoping that the merger could help it reduce this burden.
The RCom-SSTL share swap merger by contrast was approved last month. RCom will acquire around 2 million new customers, as well as 30 MHz of 800-MHz spectrum in eight of India's 22 telecoms circles including Delhi.