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TRAI finalises call-compensation at Re 1; Telcos displeased

Mobile users will get a compensation of Re 1 for every dropped call from January 1, even as the telecom operators cried foul saying the new rules can cost them nearly Rs 150 crore a day.

However, this compensation would be provided to a subscriber for a maximum three dropped calls in a day.

The new norms, announced today by the telecom regulator TRAI, follow a huge uproar over the menace of call drops.

Welcoming the TRAI’s decision, which would be binding on the mobile operators, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hoped that the companies would improve their services so that they do not have to pay the penalty.

“We welcome it and hope that it will go a long way in addressing the concerns of the consumers. I appeal again to all operators to address the issue seriously. I hope the issue of call drops will become a thing of the past at the earliest so that the penalty provision of the regulations will not be required to be invoked,” Prasad said.

Announcing the compensation mechanism, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said the mobile operators will need to pay consumers Re 1 for every dropped call, subject to a maximum of three such calls in a day, with effect from January 1, 2016.

Under new rules, the operator will have to send a message to the customer within four hours of a dropped call with details of the amount credited to his or her account.

For post-paid customers, the details of the credit would need to be provided in the next bill.

The ‘call drop’ has been defined as “a voice call, which after being successfully established, is interrupted prior to its normal completion (and) the cause of early termination is within the network of the service provider”.

The compensation would need to be paid to the calling customer who initiates such a voice call, TRAI said.

Disappointed with the new norms, the industry players said the new norms would result in a huge monetary outgo.

“We are very disappointed, we do not believe this is the right solution… There is lot of ambiguity arising from the proposed solutions,” the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan S Mathews said.

COAI estimated that the regulation may force the industry to shell out about Rs 150 crore every day even if half of the consumers in the country face this problem.

Mathews said the industry will approach the regulator to seek clarity on a host of issues and may even approach the appellate tribunal TDSAT against the TRAI’s decision.