Loop Mobile

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Loop Mobile
Former type Private
Industry Telecommunication
Fate Acquired by Bharti Airtel
Founded Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (1994 (1994))
Defunct 2014 (2014)
Headquarters Mahim, Mumbai, India
Area served Mumbai
Key people Sandip Basu (MD and CEO)[1]
Services Mobile network operator
Owners Khaitan Group (99%)[2][3]
Employees 550 (December 2013)[4]
Website www.loopmobile.in

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 INR700 crore (US$110 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).[5][6]

History[edit]

BPL Mobile Communications, established in 1994, was India's first mobile network operator.[7] It began commercial operations in 1995.[8] The Khaitan Holdings Group purchased a 99% stake in the company at a cost of INR700 crore (equivalent to INR13 billion or US$210 million in 2014) in 2005.[9] BPL Mobile was renamed to Loop Mobile in March 2009.[8] 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.[10]

On 18 February 2014, Bharti Airtel announced that it was acquiring Loop Mobile for INR700 crore (US$110 million).[11] The two companies had been in talks since mid-2013.[12] 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.[13]

The acquisition increased Airtel's total customer base in Mumbai to more than 7 million customers[11] and increased the size of their network to 6,500 cell sites.[9] Airtel also acquired electronic equipment, optic fibre and the 8 megahertz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band held by Loop in Mumbai.[14] However, Airtel did not acquire Loop Mobile's 550 employees.[4]

Technology[edit]

Loop Mobile was the first operator in the country to offer services like MMS, GPRS and Caller Ring Tunes.[15] 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.[16] Apart from Mumbai, it is amongst the new mobile services companies to be awarded licences to operate across 21 circles by DoT.[5] Loop Mobile uses the latest NGIP (Next Generation Internet Protocol) and EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) technology.[17]

Subscriber base[edit]

Loop Mobile's subscriber base as at the end of July 2011 is as follows (as of 15 May 2012 only Mumbai remains):-

Totalling to 3,260,000 (Approx.) or 0.50% (Approx.) of the total [18] mobile connections in India.

Controversy[edit]

Main article: 2G spectrum scam

Loop Telecom was probed by CBI for alleged violation of foreign exchange laws to the tune of about INR384 crores in connexion with the 2G spectrum scam.[19][20]

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 INR10 been charged for a message for requesting porting code through number 1900.[21] In April 2012 Loop Mobile announced its intention to shut down operations across India except Mumbai with effect from 15 May 2012.[22] 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.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ SANDIP BASU JOINS LOOP TELECOM AS CEO, telecomtalk.info, 17 August 2009, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  2. ^ Sounak Mitra (19 February 2014). "Bharti Airtel buys Loop assets for Rs 700 cr". Business Standard. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "With Loop Mobile deal, Bharti Airtel dethrones Vodafone from No.1". DNA. 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  4. ^ a b Rajesh Kurup (18 February 2014). "Uncertainty looms over Loop Mobile employees". Business Line. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b BPL Mobile Renamed Loop Mobile:Loop Telecom and the need for a unified brand, medianama.com, 18 March 2009, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  6. ^ LOOP TELECOM, loopmobile.inaccessdate=8 August 2011 
  7. ^ LOOP TELECOM LAUNCHES GSM SERVICE IN TAMILNADU AND ORISSA, telecomtalk.info, 11 May 2009, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  8. ^ a b BPL Mobile was renamed to Loop Mobile, business-standard.com, 18 March 2009, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  9. ^ a b Shishir Asthana (18 February 2014). "Loop acquisition is a win-win deal for Airtel". Business Standard. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  10. ^ LOOP TELECOM is now ISO certified, telecomtalk.info, 18 August 2009, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  11. ^ a b "India's Bharti agrees to buy smaller telecoms carrier Loop's operations". Reuters. 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  12. ^ "Bharti Airtel emerges as frontrunner to acquire Loop Mobile". The Times of India. 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  13. ^ "Bharti set to take over Loop in Rs 700-crore deal". Timesofindia. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  14. ^ "Bharti To Buy Loop Mobile In Rs 700-cr Deal: Reports". Businessworld.in. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  15. ^ LOOP MOBILE THROW OUT NETWORK CAMPAIGN, telecomtalk.info, 28 May 2009, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  16. ^ About Loop Mobile, loopmobile.in, November 2010, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  17. ^ Loop Mobile, darkwap.mobi, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  18. ^ Cellular Subscriber Statistics for July 2011
  19. ^ "Loop fined Rs 384 crore". Indian Express. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  20. ^ "Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile on ED radar in 2G scam". Business Today. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "TRAI issues notices to operators for violating norms". NDTV. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "India's Loop Telecom latest casualty of 2G scam". Reuters. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  23. ^ ET Bureau (10 April 2012). "Loop telecom to shut operations outside Mumbai". The Economic Times (Mumbai). Retrieved 10 April 2012. 

External links[edit]