Plaints against telcos on the rise; Airtel tops

With complaints of poor quality of telecom services on the rise, telecom minister Manoj Sinha said that market leader Bharti Airtel has received the maximum number of consumer complaints in the last three years for poor service and call drops. It was followed by Vodafone and Reliance Communications.

The Supreme Court had in June this year quashed the attempt by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) attempt to impose a penalty on operators for call drops, calling it an ''arbitrary'' measure.

As per data shared by Sinha, 9,720 complaints were received till 30 June 2016, of which 3,257, nearly one-third of the total, were against Airtel, 2,130 against Vodafone, 1,526 against RCom and 997 against Idea Cellular. Complaints against other telecom players were below 500 in the first half of 2016.

In 2015, TRAI received 6,131 complaints against Airtel, 5,387 against Vodafone, 3,527 against RCom and 2,594 against Idea Cellular, 1,465 against Tata Teleservices and 1,444 against state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). Complaints against other telecom operators in 2015 were 500 or less.

There has been an increasing trend in the number of complaints received between 2014 and 2015 compared to trend seen between 2013 and 2014, as per the data.

The complaint mechanism has been pointed out to be ineffective since complaints registered before Trai, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) or any other authority finally lands at the door of the telecom operator for resolution.