While subscribers suffer, service providers incur losses worth crores

Suspension of mobile internet across Kashmir and blockade of communication in South Kashmir has not only created chaos in the valley but has also affected the internet dependent businesses and students.

While the subscribers, who are suffering losses due to snapping of the internet, seek “refund of charges” during the ban period, the service providers say they are incurring losses worth crores due to ban on mobile internet. 

Following killing of Hizb commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani in south Kashmir on Friday, the government banned cell phone services in south Kashmir districts and mobile internet across Kashmir division to check spread of “protests and rumours”. 

Terming the ban as “unjustified”, subscribers say that instead of reining its forces, government is always banning internet which has a huge implications on IT enabled businesses as well as on studies of the student. 

According to experts the snapping of internet connectivity in Kashmir in this age of communication has multi-dimensional implications. 

“On the one hand there is loss to the Information Technology sector, and on the other the subscribers are being made to pay for the services by the telecom companies, which actually they don’t get,” told a subscriber to Greater Kashmir.

However, the move to snap mobile internet has not gone well with the cellular company subscribers in Kashmir who are agitated over the move stating that the subscribers are made to pay service charges without using the services. 

While the losses to the business sector are enormous, the problems faced by the common subscriber are also a concern.

“The prepaid customers recharge their mobile with advance money. However the ban keeps them from utilizing the data, which ultimately expires,” said a local subscriber.

However, the telecom companies say they too are not any gainers in this scenario. The ban on internet causes an estimated Rs 30 to Rs 50 crore a day to telecom companies operating in the state.

“We are losing business due to mindless bans being imposed by the state government on mobile internet from time to time,” an executive of a private telecom operator said.

He added that the recent report of “Data from Freedom House” has revealed that Kashmir has faced around 18-25 days of internet blockade over last 4 years which is unprecedented.

When asked if the telecom companies would repay or waive off rentals for the period services remained under ban in Kashmir, he said: “The companies themselves are incurring huge losses and there is no question of repaying or waiving off the rentals for the banned period.”

The student community is also suffering in the absence of internet services in the valley who are preparing for various exams.

“We are unable to check out the notification of our exams. Even many have to move outside valley and have temporarily delayed it,” said Bilal Ahmad a student.