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Telecom operators face Rs 2,313cr fine for violating verification norms

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The Government of India has imposed a Rs 2,313 crore penalty on telecom operators for violating subscriber verification norms till the 31st of May, reports ET Telecom.  Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha informed the parliament of the development, responding to a question on action taken by the government for violation of verification norms by telcos.

According to the data, BSNL tops the list with a penalty of Rs 583.09 crore followed by Reliance Communications with a penalty of Rs 377.51 crore. Others on the list include Tata Teleservices with a fine of Rs 328.15 crore, Rs 300.34 crore for Airtel, Rs 285.62 crore for Vodafone, Rs 218.04 crore for Idea Cellular, Rs 108.82 crore for Aircel and a fine of Rs 53.14 crore on MTS. Penalty on other operators was less than Rs 20 crore.

Fine on call drops:

In October last year, TRAI had ordered telcos to pay consumers Rs 1 in case of call drops from January this year. Subsequently in January, the TRAI asked all telecom operators to submit daily updates on their network performance, including call drops and voice quality.

Telecom operators, however, moved the Delhi High Court through industry associations, Auspi and COAI by filing a case in December, challenging the regulator’s order and calling for a stay on the decision. The order of making operators compensate users for every call drop subject to a limit was subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court.

Note that overall telecom has poor quality service with mounting complaints (9,720 complaints for poor service till June 30, 2016), after sales customer service being broken, and the TRAI hung with SC declining to pass call drops compensation. All together consumers are subjected to poor quality service, and regulators are yet to do something to fix it.

The Telecom Minister recently held a meeting with CEOs of mobile service providers to discuss quality issues, wherein operators claimed a 100-day plan which would include adding around 60,000 base transceiver station. Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said “Call drop is another issue we are discussing in all seriousness. In the coming 4-5 months, you will see work happening on that front.”

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