Sanat Kumar Dutta, a retired employee of an IT multinational, was taken aback while logging on to the internet on his desktop last week. Dutta, a regular user of MTS Mblaze, was unable to open his login homepage or get through to the customer care executives over phone for a fix.

He is not alone. Most of the four million (the last Trai data in July) MTS customers across the country have found their Internet link going haywire without any warning or notification from the company since the merger of the brand’s owner Sistema Shyam Telecom Ltd (SSTL) with Reliance Communications (RCom).

As per the merger clause, Russia-backed SSTL, which operates the MTS brand across nine circles in India, transferred all its telecom and internet operations to the Anil Ambani-owned RCom following the department of telecommunication’s (DoT) nod on October 20.

But the transition period has spelled doom for many of the MTS users who banked entirely on its network. “If you go to ‘selfcare.mtsindia.in’ site, it shows a ‘network error’. So, how can we get our job done? All MTS login and customer-care pages are down, but, quite ironically, all the pre-paid and post-paid payment windows are working on the www.mtsindia.in,” said Rajesh Sinha, a student.

When contacted, MTS India spokesperson told TOI that following the merger, SSTL handed over all operational activities to RCom from November 1, 2017. “MTS is in no way responsible for any network glitch or intimation lapse to the subscribers of the merged entity now. Any further query on the network should be directed to the new operator, RCom,” said Viraj Chouhan, head, corporate communications, SSTL.

He claimed that all the MTS users were informed via ‘text messages’ before October 31. However, the complainants who got in touch with TOI following the total blackout of internet connections said they received no text from MTS.

When asked about the current anomalies on the MTS site, an RCom spokesperson said: “It’s an ongoing situation for any network transition phase. The switching takes time for network stability. It will be resolved soon.”

Rajan S. Mathews, DG of the cellular operators’ body COAI, told TOI that the situation is unfortunate. “Although neither SSTL nor RCom is our member, we are of the view that they should not make the subscribers suffer. Trai has reportedly asked RCom to inform its customers about the service glitches and provide them with refund and options to port out,” he said.

Rajib Mukherjee, a user of MTS Mblaze Ultra for five years, didn’t receive a single communication. “No one — the retailer or service provider — is ready to take the onus now. I will switch to a new operator but who’ll reimburse the subscription money that I have already paid?” asked Mukherjee.  – TOI