The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today dismissed suggestions by telecom operators to amend or withdraw the compensation guidelines for call drops. It has directed the carriers to put in place the requisite infrastructure to monitor call drops and compensate users for the same.
The regulator today met telecom operators to discuss the compensation policy. It was attended by Bharti Airtel Ltd India MD and CEO Gopal Vittal, Vodafone India MD and CEO Sunil Sood, Idea Cellular Ltd MD and CEO Himanshu Kapania, alongside COAI DG Rajan S. Mathews, AUSPI secretary general Ashok Sud, and representatives of other operators. TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma said, “I have made it very clear. It's a valid regulation. Neither overturned by a competent authority, nor annulled, modified or cancelled. The operators must take steps to prepare themselves to implement this.”
COAI and AUSPI had earlier sent a letter to TRAI that detailed the grievances of telecom operators regarding the compensation regulations. The letter had termed the regulations “coercive” and “grossly unjust”. The telcos are concerned about the misuse of the regulations by a large number of people to exact the compensation by deliberately engineering call drops. The letter has also raised questions about TRAI’s jurisdiction to frame such regulations. The letter had further expressed apprehensions about the technical feasibility of implementing the policy. Sharma clarified TRAI’s stand saying, “An impression is being created that the authority has imposed this regulation without considering the technical feasibility of its operation. Before issuing regulation, the authority has considered all aspects of the matter, including technical feasibility.”
Following questions raised by the operators about TRAI’s selection of areas to conduct network tests, the regulator has agreed to add five more cities. It will conduct network tests in Ahmedabad, Indore, Surat, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, aside from Delhi and Mumbai, in December. The compensation policy will come into effect from 1st January, 2016. As per the regulations, operators will have to pay Re. 1 for every dropped call, which has been capped to three calls per day. However, the telcos have indicated that if the regulations does come into play, mobile tariff may be hiked.