Call drop penalty takes effect from January


New Delhi: India’s telecom watchdog on Friday said mobile phone operators have to compensate subscribers on call drops from January 1 next year at the rate of a rupee for each such failure.

A notification from the Telecom Regulatory Authotity of India (TRAI) said the calling consumer will get a credit of Re 1 per call drop, limited to three such occurances per day in a 24-hour cycle. Following that, the mobile operators have to send them an SMS within four hours.

The regulator also defined what constituted such a failure.

“Call drops means a voice call which, after being successfully established, is interrupted prior to its normal completion – the cause of the early termination being within the network of the service provider.”

The watchdog said it had examined the representations of telecom operators who maintain that some issues like poor spectrum allocation and difficulties in setting up towers that were beyond their control and contributing to call drops.

It said it was for this reason that the authority has kept the compensatory mechanism simple so that the consumers understand the same easily, and the operators are able to implement it as well.

The effective date for call-drop compensation comes a day after the watchdog said doubled the penalty for poor quality service and said an operator will now be fined up to Rs 1 lakh for the first non-compliance of benchmarks in a quarter compared Rs 50,000 earlier.

It also said the non-compliance, benchmarked on some 15 parameters under technical and customer care categories, in two or more consecutive quarters will result in a penalty up to Rs 1.5 lakh and a fine up to Rs 2 lakh.

If the telecom operators do not meet the benchmarks, companies like Airtel, Reliance and Idea could end up paying around Rs 2.3 crore, Rs 1.9 crore and Rs 80 lakh respectively, taking into account a scenario that only 10 percent of their subscriber base face only one call drop a day.

Airtel, Reliance and Idea have 23.29 crore, 10.99 crore and 8.33 crore subscribers respectively.