Loop Mobile India Ltd
FormerlyBPL Mobile Communications
Company typePrivate
IndustryTelecommunication
Founded1994 (1994)
Defunct29 November 2014 (2014-11-29)
FateCeased operations after expiration of licence
HeadquartersMahim, ,
India
Key people
IP Khaitan (Shareholder)

Nalin Khaitan (Director)

Sandip Basu (CEO)
ServicesMobile telephony

Loop Mobile India Ltd, formerly BPL Mobile Communications, was an Indian mobile network operator.

History

BPL Mobile Communications, established in 1994, was India's first mobile network operator.[1] It began commercial operations in 1995.[2] The Khaitan Holdings Group purchased a 99% stake in the company at a cost of 700 crore (equivalent to 24 billion or US$300 million in 2023) in 2005.[3] BPL Mobile was renamed to Loop Mobile in March 2009.[2] Having consistently met and exceeded Telecom Regulatory Authority of India benchmarks, Loop Mobile was ISO 9001:2008 certified in 2009, in accordance with the TUV NORD CERT auditing and certification procedures.[4]

On 18 February 2014, Bharti Airtel announced that it was acquiring Loop Mobile for 700 crore (equivalent to 11 billion or US$140 million in 2023), prior to that, a Chennai-based Information Technology Company, Zeesta IT Services MD Hemanth Raj, evaluated to acquire, however the deal did not materialize.[5] The two companies had been in talks since mid-2013.[6] Loop Mobile's 20-year licence in the 900 MHz band was due to expire in the last quarter of 2014, and the company did not participate in the 2014 spectrum auction.[7] However, on 5 November 2014, Bharti announced that it was dropping plans to acquire Loop Mobile, after the former failed to gain regulatory approval from the Department of[clarification needed] for the acquisition.[8][9]

The acquisition would have increased Airtel's total customer base in Mumbai to more than 7 million customers[5] and increased the size of their network to 6,500 cell sites.[3] Airtel also would have acquired electronic equipment, optic fibre and the 8 megahertz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band held by Loop in Mumbai.[10] However, Airtel had no plans to acquire Loop Mobile's 550 employees.[11]

The announcement of the acquisition had prompted most Loop Mobile subscribers to switch mobile operators, and the operator had approximately 1 million customers by the first week of November 2014, down from 3 million subscribers when the deal was first announced in February 2014. Loop Mobile's licence to operate mobile services in Mumbai expired on 29 November 2014, bringing an end to its operations.[8][9]

Controversy

Main article: 2G spectrum case

Loop Telecom was probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged violation of foreign exchange laws, in the amount of 384 crore (US$48 million), in connection with the 2G spectrum case.[12][13] The promoters of Loop telecom were acquitted in December 2017 by the special court investigating the matter, which ruled that the prosecution "has miserably failed to prove any charge against any of the accused. Consequently, all the accused are entitled to be acquitted."[14]

On 18 August 2011, Loop mobile, along with Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications and Vodafone, was issued notices by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for violation of mobile number portability regulations. According to TRAI, they had received complaints from customers regarding improper rejection of porting requests by telecom operators and also 10 crore (US$1.3 million) being charged for messages requesting the porting code through number 1900.[15] In April 2012 Loop Mobile announced its intention to shut down operations across India except Mumbai with effect from 15 May 2012.[16] The move is expected to impact 6,100 customers, however, the figure is much less than 0.01% of the number of mobile phone users in India.[17]

References

  1. ^ LOOP TELECOM LAUNCHES GSM SERVICE IN TAMILNADU AND ORISSA, telecomtalk.info, 11 May 2009, archived from the original on 29 September 2021, retrieved 8 August 2011
  2. ^ a b "BPL Mobile was renamed to Loop Mobile", Business Standard India, business-standard.com, 18 March 2009, archived from the original on 11 May 2017, retrieved 8 August 2011
  3. ^ a b Shishir Asthana (18 February 2014). "Loop acquisition is a win-win deal for Airtel". Business Standard. Archived from the original on 8 May 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  4. ^ LOOP TELECOM is now ISO certified, telecomtalk.info, 18 August 2009, archived from the original on 28 September 2021, retrieved 8 August 2011
  5. ^ a b "India's Bharti agrees to buy smaller telecoms carrier Loop's operations". Reuters. 10 January 2014. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Bharti Airtel emerges as frontrunner to acquire Loop Mobile". The Times of India. 2 September 2013. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Bharti set to take over Loop in Rs 700-crore deal". The Times of India. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Bharti calls off Rs 700-cr deal to buy Loop Mobile". Business Standard India. 6 November 2014. Archived from the original on 29 September 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Bharti Airtel scraps Loop Mobile merger deal". 5 November 2014. Archived from the original on 29 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Bharti To Buy Loop Mobile in Rs 700-cr Deal: Reports". Businessworld.in. 17 February 2014. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  11. ^ Rajesh Kurup (18 February 2014). "Uncertainty looms over Loop Mobile employees". Business Line. Archived from the original on 3 October 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Loop fined Rs 384 crore". Indian Express. 18 August 2011. Archived from the original on 3 October 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile on ED radar in 2G scam". Business Today. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  14. ^ Kumar, Nirnimesh (21 December 2017). "Ruias, Khaitans too acquitted". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Archived from the original on 1 July 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  15. ^ "TRAI issues notices to operators for violating norms". NDTV. 18 August 2011. Archived from the original on 21 September 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  16. ^ "India's Loop Telecom latest casualty of 2G scam". Reuters. 10 April 2012. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  17. ^ ET Bureau (10 April 2012). "Loop telecom to shut operations outside Mumbai". The Economic Times. Mumbai. Retrieved 10 April 2012.