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]

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