Telecos might surge tariffs as an opposition to TRAI’s new call drop rule

In a bid to oppose TRAI’s new rule on call drops, telecom operators have issued a warning. They have hinted at increasing the tariffs if they are subjected to pay compensation for call drops. The operators also affirmed that it is not attainable to make a call-drop proof network.

The new regulation by TRAI mandates network operators to compensate users for call drops, starting from January. The rule also says that the compensation would only be applicable if there are up to three call drops in a day. Going by the rule, an operator might have to shell out a maximum compensation of Rs. 3 in a day for the consumers who face the issue.

Operators in association with telecom industry bodies (COAI and AUSPI), have drafted a letter to TRAI. The letter states that the new regulation might just escalate the call drop issue as many consumers might just do it deliberately to earn compensation. An extract from the letter reads, “To recover this cost of compensation, telecom operators will have to increase tariffs leading to customer spending more to purchase telecom services,”

The telecom industry bodies, which are a representative of all the network operators in the country, support the opposition. They are of a view that the new rule would be an invitation to misuse, and will cause an a setback of up to 3 percent on total revenues, and around 7-8 percent on individual operator. Industry bodies also said,”The market is already agog with talk that all a consumer has to do to engineer three call drops every day, and get Rs. 90 reduction in the monthly bill. In a country where the average ARPU is Rs. 125, the impact of such a regulation is frightening,”

COAI, which represents GSM telecom operators, had also pointed out that the new regulation will force the industry to pay around Rs. 150 Crores a day, in case it has to pay compensation to around half the users. The letter to the TRAI also stated,”Wireless networks cannot be designed for zero call drops … Therefore, in a cellular mobile radio network, having full coverage and capacity everywhere is an oxymoron. The Regulation on compensation assumes ideal conditions with a possibility of zero call drop, which is impossible to achieve.”

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