|Fate||Acquired by Bharti Airtel|
|Founded||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (1994 )|
|Headquarters||Mahim, Mumbai, India|
|Key people||Sandip Basu (MD and CEO)|
|Services||Mobile network operator|
|Owner(s)||Khaitan Group (99%)|
|Employees||550 (December 2013)|
Loop Mobile, usually referred to as LOOP and formerly known as BPL Mobile, was an Indian mobile network operator. On 18 February 2014, Bharti Airtel announced that it had agreed to acquire Loop Mobile for 700 crore (US$120 million).
At its peak, Loop offered both prepaid and postpaid GSM cellular phone coverage in Assam, Kolkata, North East, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan after receiving a license to operate across 21 telecom circles from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
BPL Mobile Communications, established in 1994, was India's first mobile network operator. It began commercial operations in 1995. The Khaitan Holdings Group took ownership control in 2005, purchasing a 99% stake in the company at a cost of 700 crore (equivalent to 13 billion or US$210 million in 2014). BPL Mobile was renamed to Loop Mobile in March 2009, following the expiry of its brand-use agreement with the TPG Nambiar owned BPL Group. Having consistently met and exceeded TRAI benchmarks, Loop Mobile was ISO 9001:2008 certified in 2009, in accordance with the TUV NORD CERT auditing and certification procedures.
During the year 2010, Loop Mobile had invested about 200 crore (equivalent to 270 crore or US$45 million in 2014) as a part of its Phase I capex plan for a major network upgrade. As a part of the expansion, 1,200 new cell sites were added in Mumbai, making its network one of the strongest in the city. The next generation Software-defined radio (SDR), were installed for the first-of-its-kind GSM deployment across any metro in India. The SDR-based next-generation IP (NGIP) network upgrade is environment-friendly which will considerably reduce carbon foothold. This up-gradation instantly added network quality, crystal clear voice clarity and high-speed data.
On 18 February 2014, Bharti Airtel announced that it had agreed to acquire Loop Mobile for 700 crore (US$120 million), subject to regulatory and statutory approvals. This was the first merger in the Indian telecoms market in nearly six years. This was also the first deal to be recorded since the government had finalised a new mergers and acquisitions (M&A) policy earlier that year, although the policy had not been notified formally. The two companies had been in talks since mid-2013. 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, making it impossible for the company to continue operations.
Loop Mobile's 3 million subscribers were added to Airtel's 4 million subscribers in Mumbai under the agreement, taking Airtel's total customer base in Mumbai to more than 7 million, helping it surpass Vodafone as the largest operator by subscriber base in the circle, though its market share by revenue for Mumbai still lagged Vodafone. The deal also added Loop Mobile's EDGE enabled network supported by more than 2,500 cell sites (400 owned by Loop Mobile), to Airtel's existing 2G and 3G network supported by over 4,000 cell sites across Mumbai, and offered subscribers the widest exclusive retail reach with 220 outlets across the city. Airtel also acquired electronic equipment, optic fibre and the 8 megahertz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band held by Loop in Mumbai. However, Airtel did not acquire Loop Mobile's 550 employees. The status of Loop's employees could not be immediately ascertained.
Being the country's oldest telecom service provider, Loop Mobile is the first operator in the country to offer services like MMS, GPRS and Caller Ring Tunes. Other VAS include Reply-All, Roaming on Prepaid, Intelligent network, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Multimedia Messaging Service(MMS), Missed Call Alert, Caller Ring Tune, Mobile Tracker, Doctor-on-Call, "1 paise per sec" prepaid plan, Karaoke Messaging among others. Apart from Mumbai, it is amongst the new mobile services companies to be awarded licences to operate across 21 circles by DoT. Loop Mobile uses the latest NGIP (Next Generation Internet Protocol) and EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) technology.
Loop Mobile's subscriber base as at the end of July 2011 is as follows (as of 15 May 2012 only Mumbai remains):-
- Mumbai - 35,56,000
- Haryana - 95
- Kolkata - 1,344
- Madhya Pradesh - 100
- Orissa - 592
- Punjab - 125
- Rajasthan - 243
- Northeast India - 20
- Assam - 97
Totalling to 3,260,000 (Approx.) or 0.50% (Approx.) of the total  mobile connections in India.
Loop Telecom was probed by CBI for being a beneficiary of the 2G scam allegedly perpetrated by former telecommunications minister A. Raja. The Enforcement Directorate fined a sum of 384 crore (US$65 million) on Loop Mobile and Loop Telecom for alleged foreign exchange violations. Loop Telecom is a subsidiary of Loop Mobile, owned by the Santa Group of Khaitans, having family ties with the Ruias of Essar Group. Firm for alleged violation of foreign exchange laws to the tune of about 384 crores in connexion with the 2G scam. Loop was issued notices for not intimating the RBI after receiving the money through FDI entities. The second violation committed by them was regarding not issuing shares within specified time period.
On 18 August 2011, Loop mobile along with Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications and Vodafone was issued notices by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) for violation of Mobile number portability(MNP) Regulations. According to TRAI, they had received complains from customers regarding wrong rejection of porting requests by telecom operators and also 10 been charged for a message for requesting porting code through number 1900. In April 2012 Loop Mobile announced its intention to shut down operations across India except Mumbai with effect from 15 May 2012. 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.
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