Call drop compensation rule stays, TRAI to hear out telcos

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 30, 2015 02:14 IST
Telecom regulator, TRAI, has asked mobile service providers to ready their systems to compensate consumers for call drops from January 1, 2016. (File photo)

Telecom regulator, Trai, has asked mobile service providers to ready their systems to compensate consumers for call drops from January 1, 2016. In the meantime, it has expressed its willingness to examine the issues raised by them.

“If a stakeholder in the system makes a request we have to examine it. It does not mean, till we respond, a stay has been given,” said RS Sharma on Thursday, after the operators and their associations met Trai chairman and reiterated their request.

“We will examine first, if the regulation can be legally withdrawn and secondly, if it should be reviewed or not and that decision will be taken and convey it to the operators as soon as possible,” said Sharma.

Operators who met Sharma told reporters that they have requested Trai to review and recall the regulation of compensation on call drop. “We will wait for two week and review Trai’s response to our request,” said Rajan Mathews,director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

However, he emphasized, “Operators have been told, clearly, as long it is a valid regulation, not overturned by a competent authority, not annulled, modified or cancelled, the operators must take steps to prepare themselves for implementing it (the from January 1, 2016).”

Read | Telecom operators may have to pay Rs 1 for every call drop

When quizzed if TRAI will give its response soon, to avoid operators moving to Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDAST) Sharma said, “We will resolve it soon (less than fortnight) but it is a free country and one can exercise legal options.”

Telecom operators across platforms and affiliations came together on Tuesday and threatened to hike call rates , if the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India did not roll back its ruling on compensation for call drops.

“Tariffs are under forbearance...I would not like to make a comment or judgement on that,” said Sharma. Forbearance is a system that allows operators the freedom to fix tariff without any cap.

Sharma said, the positive take away from the meeting was, TRAI and telecom operators have decided to meet every two weeks to resolve issues around call drops.

The meeting was attended by Bharti Airtel India MD and CEO Gopal Vittal, Vodafone India MD and CEO Sunil Sood, Idea Cellular MD and CEO Himanshu Kapania, Reliance Jio Infocomm MD Sanjay Mashruwala and MTNL Director Sunil Kumar.

Industry body COAI DG Rajan S Mathews, AUSPI Secretary General Ashok Sud and representatives of other telecom companies were also present.

Meanwhile TRAI will send a report to operators on Friday on the tests it had conducted in five cities; the same will be posted on the TRAI website in a week. It will conduct its next test drive to assess call drops in the same five locations – Ahemadabad, Indore, Kolkata, Surat and Bhubaneswar. Earlier, two rounds of test drives within a gap of 15 days were conducted in Delhi and Mumbai.

He said, the operators were clearly told that, technology is available with TRAI to determine the reason for call drop. “There are more than 100 codes in the backend system of telecom network, that can show, why a call a dropped—is it because, if the battery was drained out or due to system failure,” said Sharma.

(With inputs from PTI)

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