Telecom operators across platforms and affiliations came together on Tuesday and threatened to hike call rates if the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) did not roll back its ruling on compensation for call drops.
Rejecting the regulator’s recommendation as “coercive and grossly unjust”, the telcos warned that its unintended impact would be catastrophic for the telecom services market. “We humbly request the Authority to withdraw a defective regulation though it may have proceeded with all good intentions,” they said in a joint statement.
According to Trai’s notification, issued earlier this month, operators will have to pay a penalty of `1 per call drop from January 1, 2016, with a cap of three dropped calls a day.
This amount will be credited to the account of the subscriber.
The directive came in the wake of mounting complaints of call drops that prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek an urgent fix and come down hard on telcos, saying they cannot escape “responsibility and accountability”.
Asked if he supported the concept of compensation, communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently said, “I welcome any directive that is pro-consumer.”
But the operators have said the compensation system could lead to huge losses for them as customers are billed per second. They also said subscribers already have the option of choosing from 10-12 operators in their quest for better service, and that expecting compensation from a fully compliant service provider is wrong.