This essentially means that Tata Teleservices will continue to operate a network in a technical and legal sense, but is free to decommission all its towers and spectrum.
All handsets of DoCoMo users will automatically latch on to Airtel network when it cannot find the Tata network.
The tariff plans of Tata subscribers will continue to remain the same as before.
It is unlikely that they can take advantage of the unlimited offers and plans from Bharti Airtel right now as the merger is not yet done. It also unlikely that DoCoMo users will be able to latch on to the 4G network right now.
Bharti Airtel’s tariffs are much lower than that of Tata DoCoMo.
However, they can still use the MNP route to move to Bharti Airtel, which would make them ‘full-fledged’ subscribers of Airtel.
Airtel said Tata customers will be able to enjoy uninterrupted services on the Airtel network with their existing SIMs.
Given that the agreement to merge has not received regulatory approval yet, the companies cannot effect a total merger as of now.
However, at the same time, they are keen to save costs and avoid duplication of infrastructure. A roaming agreement helps Tata achieve a network shutdown without impacting its customers.
It can be expected that once the merger is approved and consummated, there will be no difference between a Tata DoCoMo consumer and a Bharti Airtel consumer, and all will be able to use the full set of tariff plans.
It is also possible that Tata DoCoMo will tweak its plans and tariffs to bring them in line with those offer by Airtel, even before the merger.
“As we rationalise our network assets on a staggered basis, we have decided to begin transitioning our mobile customers to the Airtel network under an ICR arrangement,” said T Elango, President – Consumer Business, Tata Teleservices.
The first batch of the transition is being effected in UP (West), Bihar, and West Bengal.
Over the coming weeks, all consumer mobile customers of Tata Teleservices across all circles will gradually transition to the Airtel network.
Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer, Bharti Airtel said: “We are delighted to welcome the Tata mobile customers on to India’s largest network and look forward to serving them with our world-class services.
“The transition will be fully seamless and nothing changes for Tata customers, who will continue on the same SIM and plan.”