Telecom operators await the court decision to compensate users for call drops

Telecom operators have turned down an order of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which entitles them to pay compensation for call drops.

Recently, mobile operators have obtained an order from Delhi high court. The order urges the regulator not to take any action against the providers until January 6, which is the date of next hearing.

However, the regulator has maintained that the court hasn’t stayed its order. Hence, they will stick to their stand and will not withdraw the issued order.

TRAI’s order was supposed to come into effect on January 1, 2016, which is now deferred. The revised date will be announced after the final verdict of the petition.

Ashok Sud, Secretary General, Association of Unified Service Providers of India (AUSPI) has clarified that operators will pay the required compensation only if the court informs them to do so. He declined to make any further comments on this matter stating that the issue is before the court.

The association immediately got support from the Cellular Operators Association of India who backed their stand and put the ball in the court of law. A senior TRAI official declined to comment on the matter.

A senior executive in a leading telecom company, who prefers not to be identified, told PC-Tablet that call drops are not entirely the fault of the service providers and can occur due to various other reasons beyond their control. However, they haven’t identified the exact issues that cause call drops.

He further informed that it is not feasible to provide compensation as specified by the regulator because it has financial and other implications. They also argued before the court that subscribers may manipulate the system to claim compensation.

The telecom operators association has approached Delhi high court with a petition against TRAIs order dated October 16, 2015. It states that operators should compensate users for each call that gets disconnected in between calls.

The rate of compensation was set at Rs 1 with a daily cap of Rs 3 per subscriber. There is no clarity as to how compensation will be provided to subscribers.

We believe that even if Delhi high court quashes the operator’s petition, operators may approach Supreme Court, which will take more time to implement compensation for call drops.

Call drops occur when your call conversations are frequently disconnected. Mobile operators have pumped in funds to install additional towers to address the growing problem of call drops.

Airtel recently launched a dedicated portal that provides a detailed analysis of their upcoming expansion plans in 2016 to tackle the call drop issue.