Trai chief R S Sharma to meet telco heads today to discuss call drops

By: |
Published: October 29, 2015 1:02:10 AM

Mobile operators will be meeting Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman R S Sharma on Thursday to discuss its October 16 regulation on call drops that makes its mandatory for telcos to compensate consumers with Re 1 for dropped call from January 1, 2016.

trai on call dropsTrai has in a sense said that India must have a zero call-drop regime. (PTI)

Mobile operators will be meeting Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman R S Sharma on Thursday to discuss its October 16 regulation on call drops that makes its mandatory for telcos to compensate consumers with Re 1 for dropped call from January 1, 2016.

The development follows a joint letter to the regulator by telecom industry bodies Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (Auspi) on Tuesday, arguing that the regulation was against the laws of physics as there cannot be anything like 100% successful retainability of calls. They also highlighted that the penalty could lead to erosion of R10,000 crore of their revenues in a year if 10% of subscribers were paid the penalty and could be as high as R54,000 crore if it was paid to 50% of the users.

On October 16, Trai passed a regulation mandating telecom companies to compensate consumers with R1 per dropped call from January 1, 2016. Telcos are required to compensate for a maximum of three dropped calls a day from January 1, 2016.

The letter says that, by definition, mobile networks cannot run on 100% capacity or coverage everywhere “even if infinite resources are assigned” — so Trai asking networks to have “full coverage and capacity everywhere is an oxymoron”. This is why, COAI and Auspi say, a 2% call-drop ratio has been accepted as a global norm, and by asking for compensation for call drops, Trai has in a sense said that India must have a zero call-drop regime.

Since there is no way to figure out whether a call has got “dropped” due to a problem in the network or whether it was intentionally terminated by a user, the telcos have talked of the possibility of users gaming the system.

Further, such a regulation is not pursuant to the provisions of the Trai Act. “There is no violation of license conditions by the service providers, compensation being a matter not covered under Trai Act, and this regulation is not in regard to ensuring quality of service,” the associations explained.

The government had been repeatedly warning telecom companies to work on and rectify call drops that have been on a rise since the beginning of this year. Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has accused telecom companies of not investing enough in networks after changes in the network following change in bands which they were allocated, following the spectrum auction in March this year.

Do you know What is Wholesale Price Index (WPI), Public Debt, Finance Commission Grants & Other Transfers, Economic Survey, State Finance Commission? FE Knowledge Desk explains each of these and more in detail at Financial Express Explained. Also get Live BSE/NSE Stock Prices, latest NAV of Mutual Funds, Best equity funds, Top Gainers, Top Losers on Financial Express. Don’t forget to try our free Income Tax Calculator tool.