TRAI wants your views on punishing telcos for call drops

Frustrated with the multiple call drops you experience while trying to use your mobile phone? Here’s your chance to get back!

The Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) is seeking comments on how telecom operators should compensate consumers for call drops. You can do your bit by answering some questions that the body has put up and give suggestions on a MyGov.in forum.

The TRAI has said that it conducted special drive-tests on certain routes of Mumbai and Delhi and found that Call Drop Rates of most telecom service providers (or TSPs) were higher than the permissible limit. It has therefore issued a consultation paper and has solicited comments. The TRAI has also floated the idea of telecom operators being made to compensate for call drops in talk time or monetary terms.

You can submit your suggestions on the My Gov website forum by 21 September, 2015.

Complaints relating to telecom sector, including call drops, is the second biggest concern of consumers, according to data provided by the National Consumer Helpline (NCH).

The growing proportion of call drops at a time of rising phone bills and growing public outrage has seen concern even from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has asked the telecom ministry to fix the issue promptly. The Prime Minister is believed to have told telecom secretary Rakesh Garg personally that people get irritated due to call drops and “curse the government” and this needs to be addressed on war-footing, as per sources.

Introducing the forum post on the website, the TRAI said, “In the past one year, consumers, at various fora, have raised the issue of call drops, complaining that their experience of making voice calls has deteriorated. In order to assess the problem, TRAI, in the months of June/ July, 2015, conducted special drive-tests on certain routes of Mumbai and Delhi, in which, it was found that Call Drop Rates of most of the telecom service providers (TSPs) were higher than the permissible limit of ≤2% set by the Authority. TRAI has prescribed financial disincentives on TSPs for failure to meet the quality of service benchmarks (including call drop).”

“TRAI is of the view that the problem of call drops needs to be examined in its entirety and requires adoption of a multi-pronged approach. It is also considering to make it mandatory for the TSPs to make periodic disclosures about (i) their network capacities and (ii) the steps taken to optimize their networks to address the problem of call drops. On the lines of drive tests undertaken in the cities of Mumbai and Delhi in June/July, 2015, the Authority would be conducting such drive tests across various cities in the country. While several steps are being contemplated, the Authority cannot remain a silent spectator to the problem of call drops encountered by the consumers.”

The TRAI has posted the following questions for consumers to answer:

Q1: Do you agree that calling consumers should not be charged for a call that got dropped within five seconds? In addition, if the call gets dropped any time after five seconds, the last pulse of the call (minute/second) which got dropped, should not be charged. Please support your viewpoint with reasons along with the methodologies for implementation.

Q2: Do you agree that calling consumer should also be compensated for call drops by the access service providers? If yes, which of the following methods would be appropriate for compensating the consumers upon call drop?

(i) Credit of talk-time in minutes/ seconds (ii) Credit of talk-time in monetary terms (iii) Any other method you may like to suggest.

Please support your viewpoint with reasons along with the methodologies for implementation.

Q3: If the answer to the Q2 is in the affirmative, suggest conditions/limits, if any, which should be imposed upon the provision of crediting talk-time upon call drop and usage thereof.

Q4: Is there any other relevant issue which should be considered in the present consultation on the issue of call drops?

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