Vodafone Idea Ltd created headlines this week when reports started doing the rounds that the company may shut down its India operations unless the central government offers some relief on demands for mobile spectrum fees. Though Vodafone UK, the parent company, denied reports of exit from India, but it left many Vodafone Idea users anxious, thinking what would happen to their mobile connections if the company actually closes India operations.
So, for all those who are concerned, there is no need to worry, as even if Vodafone Idea decides to shut down services, subscribers will be given enough time to port to other telecom service providers.
According to rules, telecom companies have to give at least 30 days advance notice to subscribers before shutting down their services in India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), meanwhile, should be notified 60 calendar days in advance.
If the subscriber chooses to retain his mobile number, he/she would have to port out his number to some other service provider. Or, he/she can simply get a new mobile connection.
For instance, when Aircel announced the closure of its services in 2018, subscribers were forced to opt a different operator. They were allotted unique porting codes (UPC) by TRAI through which they could opt for mobile number portability (MNP).
Subscribers were given a deadline till October 2019 to port out to some other network -- Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, or BSNL. After the said date, the UPC assigned became invalid for submission of the porting request. So those who failed to port out within the deadline had to surrender their number later.
To recall, at the start of 2018, Aircel had closed down its operations due to intense competition in the market and also because its merger with Reliance Communications fell apart due to delayed regulatory approvals.