Telcos to compensate users for call drops, face penalty for poor service: TRAI

Telcos to compensate users for call drops, face penalty for poor service: TRAI
  • Operators asked to pay a rupee for every dropped call from January 1, 2016, and will also be fined upto Rs. 2 lacs for poor quality of service.

Sector regulator TRAI yesterday imposed financial disincentives of upto Rs. 2 lakh on mobile operators for non-compliance with the desired quality of service benchmarks. Today, it also issued a detailed scheme of compensation to consumers for call drops.

As per the regulations issued by TRAI yesterday, "non-compliance with the benchmarks for network-related parameters at the rate of Rs 50,000 per parameter for violation of the first instance and Rs 1 lakh per parameter for violation of subsequent instances. For non-compliance with customer-related parameters the financial disincentives imposed is Rs 50,000 per parameter." Repeating the offence for a second successive quarter will attract a penalty of Rs. 1,50,000 and Rs. 2 lakh for each successive quarter thereafter. Operators will be penalised for failing to keep the proportion of dropped calls within a telecom circle within 2 percent. Parameters like call drops, network congestion, quality of the voice call, and availability of towers have been taken into account.

TRAI has also ordered telcos to compensate users for call drops. Under a new set of regulations issued today, operators will have to pay consumers Re 1 for each dropped call on its network. However, it has been capped to three call drops per user in a day. The operators also have to intimate the details of the credited amount to the user via SMS or USSD. For postpaid users, the details of the credit needs to be included in the next bill. The new regulations will come into effect from January 1, 2016.

Telecom service providers are likely to contest the new regulations, having previously dismissed suggestions of compensating users for call drops. The cost of setting up infrastructure to monitor call drops is also significant. They have thus far maintained that the lack of adequate spectrum and mobile tower sites have hampered the quality of service. The DoT on the other hand, has claimed that there is enough spectra available to operators for ensuring a satisfactory service quality. To that end, it has also issued spectrum trading guidelines for better optimisation of the resources between operators.
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