Call drop penalty effective from January 1

Telecos say they will seek legal help if the dialogue with TRAI fails to resolve the issue

New Delhi: India’s telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) yesterday said mobile phone operators have to compensate subscribers on call drops starting January 1, 2016, at the rate of a rupee for each such failure. The decision has left the industry upset with legal help kept as an option.

A notification from TRAI stated the calling consumer will get a credit of R1 per call drop, limited to three such occurrences per day in a 24-hour cycle. Following that, the mobile operators have to send them an SMS within four hours.

It also defined what constituted such a failure: “Call drops means a voice call which, after being successfully established, is interrupted prior to its normal completion — the cause of the early termination being within the network of the service provider.”

TRAI said it examined the representations of telecom operators, who maintain that some issues like poor spectrum allocation and difficulties in setting up towers that were beyond their control and contributing to call drops.

It said it was for this reason that the authority has kept the compensatory mechanism simple so that the consumers understand the same easily, and the operators are able to implement it as well.

However, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said TRAI has not defined the cause or the reason for the dropped calls.

“As per norms, operators need to ensure 90 per cent coverage of district headquarters and 30 per cent over blocks. There is no regulation to guarantee coverage in buildings,” COAI chief Rajan Mathews said, alluding that the industry was adhering to these norms in the best possible manner. He added their preference is to engage in a dialogue with TRAI to get clarifications over call drop norms, keeping in mind there is time till December 31. However, if the dialogue failed to yield a proper resolution, Matthews said COIA would seek legal help.

23.29crore
No. of Airtel subscribers in the country

10.99crore
No. of Reliance users in India

8.33crore
No. of Idea network users

3
No. of dropped calls that will be reimbursed daily

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