The Supreme Court declined on Friday to stay sector watchdog TRAI’s decision making it mandatory for telecom companies to compensate subscribers for call drops.
“We shall decide the matter instead of keeping it pending,” a bench of justices Kurien Joseph and Rohinton Nariman said when petitioner, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), urged it to stay the implementation of the regulator’s notification.
The COAI moved the Supreme Court challenging a Delhi high court verdict declining the operators relief from the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) directive.
The TRAI had made it mandatory for operators to pay consumers Rs 1 for every dropped call due to network failure. A consumer can get compensation subject to a cap of three dropped calls a day.
For postpaid customers, call drop records will show up in monthly bills. The compensation amount will be deducted from the bill. Prepaid subscribers will get the compensation added to their credit balance.
The TRAI in an October 15, 2015 order specified that operators send an SMS, informing customers the time, day and place of calls dropped by the network.
The compensation for dropped calls was to be paid by the operator from which the call was made.
“The operators’ network has enough capability to monitor call drops through a log book inbuilt in their network that is connected to the billing system. There should be no confusion in the mind of the consumer on how the dropped calls will be monitored and compensated,” a senior TRAI official said.
Every call made and received from a mobile phone can be tracked on a log book that resides on the network of telecom operators. The software is built using mathematical calculations and algorithms.
This software can determine the mobile handset, the assigned mobile number to it, to which operator it belongs and the network it was in when the call dropped. The log also indicates the reason for termination of call.
A number of apps are also available for customers to download on their phones that can indicate the reason for a call drop, though it will be difficult to prove in court.