Airtel And Reliance Rejects TRAI’s Directive To Provide A Minimum 512 kbps Net Speed

TRAI had recently directed the telecom operators to ensure a minimum 512 kbps download speed at all times but Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Sistema Shyam Teleservices have objected to the directive.

The reason telecom operators are citing is that once a customer have exhausted the data limit, the service providers should be allowed to provide 64 kbps. Both Reliance and Airtel have cited a similar reason in its submission to the regulator.

Sistema Shyam Teleservices in its submission said that 512 kbp speed should be provided till the consumption of committed data under a tariff plan, beyond which throttling should be allowed to avoid exploitation or misuse by subscribers.
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TRAI Violations Made Telecom Operators Cough Up Rs 6 Crore In Penalty

Telecom operators paid a total penalty of around Rs 6 crore during July 2014-June 2015 to TRAI pertaining to violation of service quality norms. Out of this, mobile services providers paid Rs 3.48 crores, fixed line service providers Rs 44.5 lakh while broadband service providers paid Rs 21.75 lakh.

Show-cause notices issued on metering and billing matters further fetched Rs 1,18,841, said TRAI in its annual report.

According to the prevailing penalty norms if service is breached on quality parameters, the telecom operator would be fined up to Rs 50,000 and on subsequent failures they would be fined up to Rs 1 lakh. However, in October 2015 TRAI had amended the penalty provision and made it Rs 1 lakh for the first time violation and failing again would cost a fine up to Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh thereafter.

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Net Neutrality: TRAI Extends Deadline For Comments To January 7

TRAI has extended the deadline for receiving comments on its differential pricing for data services, by a week (January 7th) . The deadline was supposed to end on December 30th.

trai-guidelinesTRAI had released a paper on December 9th and asked the stakeholders for suggestions on the pricing. The paper has stirred up debate on zero-rating platforms and Facebook’s Free Basics.

TRAI has received 16.5 lakh comments. The authority received 8 lakh comments through Free Basics and zero rating platforms and about 3,000 individual messages.

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Government: Google’s Project Loon Will Interfere With Cellular Spectrum

The government expressed concerns over Google’s Project Loon by stating that it might cause interference with cellular transmissions of mobile phone operators in India.

“The proposed frequency band to be used in the Loon Project of Google is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The news comes at a time when telcos are struggling to fix the call drop issue in the country wherein the TRAI had ordered telcos to pay 1 rupee per call drop—which could cost telcos at least $8billion.Google_Loon_-_Launch_Event

Under Project Loon, Google is sending high-altitude at a height of 20 kms above the earth to beam an aerial wireless network with 4G-LTE speeds, covering ground area of 40 kms in diameter. Google has already tested the project in New Zealand, California and Brazil.

The twist to the story is that Google’s project was approved for testing by the government’s IT wing–the DeitY( Department of Electronics & Information Technology) had approved the testing in early November after a “committee under the chairmanship of DeitY’s secretary was formed to look into the matter.

Government sources told PTI in November that Google may initially partner with BSNL for testing this technology by using broadband spectrum in 2.6GHz band. However the terms aren’t clear as of now.

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TRAI’s Compensation Policy For Call Drops ‘Coercive, Grossly Unjust’, Says Telcos

Telecom companies have asked the TRAI to withdraw a mandate that requires telcos to compensate users for call drops, stating that it is a “coercive, grossly unjust” ruling that could hurt 3-5% of the industry’s $36 billion annual revenue, forcing carriers to raise tariffs.

A letter supported by industry associations that has major players like Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance was submitted to TRAI recently. “The rule is unprecedented in the service industry and would lead to an increase in tariffs and litigation,” the letter stated.

TRAI issued a mandatory ruling to telecoms on October 15, asking them to pay subscribers Rs 1 for every call that isn’t completed–subject to a cap of three a day, starting from January 1. They were also asked to inform prepaid customers about the amount credited through messages within four hours of a call drop. For post-paid customers, details of the amount credited should be provided in the bill.

“We’ve written to TRAI to withdraw the ruling. We’re hoping that Trai will consider the points that we have raised. The present ruling only creates more problems ” said Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India.

“TRAI’s assumption that call drops occur due to a deficiency of service is flawed and zero call drops are scientifically impossible. Globally, a 2% call drop rate is accepted; even if a 1% call drop rate is accepted in India, telcos will be required to pay out at least Rs 1,083 crore a year. There can be no legitimate basis for a consumer not to exercise his or her choice of operator in a competitive market and then expect compensation from a fully compliant service provider,” states the letter supported by telcos. [Source]