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Thursday, 18 August 2016

BCAF: Reliance Mumbai Arm-Twisting Customers to Migrate from CDMA to GSM-4G – No Proper Advance Intimation Given

Mumbai, Tuesday May 31st 2016: The Bharat Citizens Action Forum (BCAF) has strongly condemned the high-handed and haphazard move by Reliance - Mumbai Circle (CDMA Operations) to shut down its CDMA services and forcibly migrate all its customers to GSM-4G by 31st May 2016.

According to BCAF National President Flynn Remedios, “Reliance Mumbai sent out SMS messages about three weeks ago to all its Mumbai Circle customers to opt for porting to Reliance GSM 4G. However no proper media announcement or public announcement was made by the company. Initially, customers thought it was an optional service and they could continue to use the current CDMA services if they so desired. However, one after the other value-added services on CDMA stopped functioning over the last two weeks. Handsets stopped registering on the CDMA network since the last one week. Pre-paid customers who had credit in their pre-paid accounts were not able to use the service. Finally, the realization dawned on customers that 31st May was the last day for Reliance CDMA in Mumbai. There was no clear and concise information shared with customers at all,” says Remedios, adding that this strong-arm move on part of Reliance has greatly inconvenienced thousands of customers in Mumbai.

“I had purchsed a CDMA handset costing Rs 5500 about 4 months ago. Who will compensate me for the handset. Nobody is willing to buy back a CDMA handset today. I am at a complete loss. Now, I have to buy a GSM handset or 4G handset if I have to use their services. Reliance should have announced this move at least 3-4 months ago, so that we could be prepared for the migration,” said Nasrin Patni, a BPO employee in Mumbai.

Kate Sharma – a model and actress purchased a Lenovo android CDMA handset costing Rs 7500 two months ago. Now she has to junk that handset completely as no one will exchange it.

Rajesh Yadav – a businessman from Malad tried porting his CDMA number for the last two weeks but could not obtain a porting number. His CDMA service stopped working since 10th May and he was not able to use the network. Finally, frustrated with trying to obtain a porting number to move a different operator, he opted to move to Reliance GSM as he did not want to loose his number.

Manish Singh  - a real estate consultant from Mira Road, who runs several head gear retail stores in Mumbai has been using his CDMA number for the last 12 years. “I do not want to change the number, but Reliance will not let me port to another operator. They are forcing me to migrate to their own service. I am not sure about their 4G service and would like to shift to another operator of  my choice.”

The BCAF demands that Reliance CDMA Mumbai extend its last date for terminating its CDMA sevices in Mumbai by at least 30 more days and issue proper public notices so that customers are fully aware of the T&C involved in the migration.

The BCAF will approach the Bombay High Court next week, if Reliance CDMA Mumbai does not immediately announce an additional month for customers to migrate to the new GSM service. There are thousands of customers in Mumbai who have not yet migrated and stand to loose their connections, said Remedios, adding that customers who tried to obtain a porting number were not getting porting numbers for the last two weeks. Reliance CDMA Mumbai is forcing customers to migrate only to its GSM service and that too without clear instructions or proper advance notice.

Several hundred customers who tried to port to Vodafone or Airtel were not given porting numbers or porting codes and were forced to move to Reliance GSM instead.  This is a clear case of arm-twisting and monopolistic manipulation, Remedios said.