More reports on: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Thwarted on call drop penalty, Trai mulling other steps

19 May 2016

With its penalty provision for call drops annulled by the Supreme Court, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Wednesday said it will not "shy away" from protecting consumers and the matter is being discussed internally for taking an appropriate step in this regard.

Trai chairman R S Sharma also said 'drive tests' have been conducted in 11-12 cities to analyse the problem of call drops and the results are being processed before being made public.

Amid an outcry over frequent call drops on mobile networks, Trai had put in place new regulations providing for penalty on telecom operators for dropped calls. However, this was set aside by the Supreme Court earlier this month.

Asked about the next course of action by Trai, Sharma said, "We are discussing the issue internally at Trai and we will come out with an appropriate step at an appropriate time."

 Sharma told reporters in Delhi, "Among various duties that Trai has, consumer protection is also one of them, and we cannot shy away from our duty."

The Trai regulation had mandated mobile providers to compensate consumers Re1 for every dropped call subject to a maximum of Rs3 a day. Scrapping this rule, the Supreme Court said on 11 May that the regulation was "ultra vires, arbitrary, unreasonable and non-transparent".

Trai has also been frequently conducting random test drive to check status of call drop network which most telecom operators failed to clear. The companies, however, have contested the result findings of the regulator.

As per Trai benchmark, not more than 2 per cent calls on a telecom operator's network should get automatically disconnected.

On test drives being conducted by Trai on call drops, Sharma said, "We have recently tested in 11-12 cities. We are processing their results. We will publish them very soon."

The previous drive tests were conducted by the regulator during December-January this fiscal in seven cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Bhubaneswar and Indore.

Most of the telecom operators, including state-run MTNL, failed in the random drive tests.

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