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MTNL, cellphone links partially restored

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI JAN. 19. After experiencing two harrowing days while trying to connect their cellphone calls to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited landlines and vice versa, consumers here today heaved a sigh of relief as all links between private cell operators and the state-owned MTNL were restored.

Both, Air Tel and Hutch officials confirmed that services had been restored and that their networks were functioning normally as incoming and outgoing calls to and from MTNL landlines were materialising. However, the MTNL top brass, including the CMD, Narender Sharma, and the chief general manager, A.H. Khan, continued to elude the media.

Though normality was restored, the cellular operators did not seem to know how it was achieved as one of the representatives quipped that they were also trying to find out but expressed satisfaction that consumers would be able to use the services.

On the other hand, they have also sought a meeting with the Communications Minister, Pramod Mahajan, who returns here after a week-long visit to Egypt and South Africa, to apprise him of the situation. The Minister is likely to interact with Mukesh Ambani of Reliance and Prithvipal Singh of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited at a public function here tomorrow. It would be left to Mr. Mahajan to broker peace between the warring sides.

The cellular operators are also scheduled to meet the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India tomorrow to explain if they had stopped blocking WLL calls of two companies.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal is also scheduled to hear the plea of the cellular companies against limited mobility.

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