The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has mandated that all telecom operators will have to pay Re 1 to compensate consumers in case of call drops. The new regulations will be effective from January 1, 2016. However, consumers’ ability to get credit into their accounts due to call drops is limited to three in a day.
TRAI also mentioned that that telecom operators will have to send a message via SMS or USSD within four hours of a call drop to inform consumers along with the details of the amount credited. In the case of post paid users, operators will have to provide details of the credit in the next bill.
“TRAI is of the view that the mandated regime would provide relief to the consumers from the issue of call drops to some extent and spur the service providers to improve the Quality of Service. TRAI will keep a close watch on the implementation of the mandate as well as the measures being initiated by the service providers to minimize the problem of dropped calls and may undertake a review after six months, if necessary,” TRAI added in a press note.
The telecom regulator had issued a consultation paper on call drops in August following numerous complaints from consumers. The department of telecommunications had earlier in June suggested that operators should offer free minutes or credit to tackle the issue of frequent call drops.
According to the consultation paper, the regulator conducted Independent Drive Tests in the months of June and July in Delhi and Mumbai and found that call drop rate of most of the telecom service providers was higher than the benchmark of <=2%, set by the Authority. The consultation paper also suggested mandatory periodic disclosures for telecom operators on their network capacities and the steps taken to optimize their networks.
More fines on operators for non-compliance of parameters
The TRAI also increased the fine on telecom operators for non-compliance of regulations set by TRAI. Accordingly, as telecom operator will now be fined Rs 1 lakh for non-compliance with benchmark parameter in a quarter. The amount was increased from Rs 50,000.
Consecutive non-compliance with the benchmark of the same parameter will attract a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh for second contravention and Rs 2 lakh two lakhs for each consecutive contravention thereof.
“Non-compliance with the benchmark for the same parameter in any subsequent quarter, which is not a consecutive non-compliance, Rs 1 lakh per parameter,” TRAI added in a separate release.
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao pulled up
Earlier this week, Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Coloa reportedly came under fire from finance minister Arun Jaitley over call drops. Later in a press conference, Colao said that call drops were linked to the amount of spectrum telcos have. “It’s linked to the amount of spectrum that we have, it’s linked to the ease of getting permits, right of ways. We are working positively with DoT… It is not a problem of money, but problem of operating
Download: Press release