TRAI cracks whip; Users to be compensated for call drop

RSTV Bureau

mobile_phoneAmid growing concerns over the call drops and poor network connectivity, telecom regulator–TRAI on Friday made it mandatory for telecom service providers to compensate consumers by one rupee for call drops with effect from January 1, 2016. The compensation will, however, be limited to three dropped calls in a day. At the same time, it said the the telecom operators may be fined up to Rs 2 lakh for poor mobile service quality.

Detailing further on how this mechanism will work, TRAI said a telecom operator should send a message through SMS or USSD to the calling customer within four hours of the occurrence of call drop and the details of amount credited in his account. For post paid customers, the details of the credit should be provided in the next bill.

The telecom regulator also said it will keep a close watch on the implementation of this step as well as stressing on the service providers to minimise the problem of call dropping.

In another move, TRAI said that the operators will be first fined up to Rs 1.5 lakh and if their services are unable to meet the benchmark standards, the fine may go upto Rs 2 lakh for the second violation and thereafter.

“The proportion (incidents) of non-compliance in case of customer related parameters is more than that of network related parameters. Hence the Authority has decided to impose identical structure of financial disincentive in both cases,” the TRAI statement read.

As per existing norms, there is a penalty provision of up to Rs 50,000 for the first violation and Rs 1 lakh for subsequent failures in case of network related quality parameters. However, with regard to consumer-related issues the penalty was capped at Rs 50,000 for each violation. Now for the first time violation of service quality benchmark, the fine has been increased to Rs 1 lakh.

“The Authority feels that these measures will act as a sufficient deterrent against prolonged non-compliance and will further improve the quality of service in a time-bound manner,” the regulator said in its statement.

Commenting on the matter, Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “The whole industry is focussed on call drops issue. I have assured the Telecom Minister about measures. We will wait for final call taken by the DoT on compensation. The government is in process of giving companies more sites for towers.”

(With inputs from the PTI)