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#calldrops: TRAI tells HC that courts should not transgress into policy

call drops

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has told the Delhi High Court that imposing a fine on telecom operators by asking them to compensate customers for call drops, is a matter of policy decision, which the court should not transgress upon, reports the Financial Express.

This response comes after telecom operators refused to comply to TRAI’s mandate from October 2015, requiring all telecom operators to pay Re 1, subject to a cap of Rs 3 per day, to compensate consumers in case of call drops. Instead, the telecom industry associations, Auspi and COAI filed a case in the Delhi High Court in December, challenging the regulator’s order and calling for a stay on the decision. The petition claimed that the TRAI did not have the power to grant compensations to subscribers under the TRAI act.

The same month, the Delhi High Court refused to stay TRAI’s order, with the matter set for a further hearing tomorrow. TRAI on its part has claimed that it is well within its rights to lay down standards of quality and ensure quality of service, and issue regulations for the same. The regulatory body said that call drops problem persisted across the country, even in circles with sufficient number of mobile towers, which is a major cause of concern for consumers, and that it was the responsibility of the authority to protect consumer interests.

Call drops issue: 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.

In the October mandate, TRAI mentioned that that telecom operators would 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 would have to provide details of the credit in the next bill.

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