Telecos to now pay 5 lakhs as penalty for call drops

Lawrence Kim
August 19, 2017

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has raised the penalty on telecom operators to Rs five lakh for poor mobile service quality, including call drops, according to media reports on Friday.

At present, the regulator is measuring the call drops by averaging the performance of the network over the entire services area, and the results were averaged every month to rate which operator has more call drops.

Failing to meet the DCR benchmarks for two quarters will lead to one and a half times the quarterly penalty, which is Rs 7.5 lakh, whereas the penalty will be doubled, translating to Rs 10 lakh, if DCR benchmarks are violated for more than two quarters. Along with it comes a new penalty system that will have telecommunication companies failing to meet the service quality standards paying penalties to the tune of Rs 10 lakh. This means call drops will not be measured on the basis of circle but that of towers. New norms will be applicable from October 1.

The watchdog said if telecom operators do not meet the benchmark, the service provider may be fined up to Rs. 5 lakhs against one parameter "depending upon the extent of deviation of performance from the benchmark". Also, dropped call rates will be assessed across all mobile technologies - GSM, CDMA, WCDMA and LTE - as a whole. Averages many times hide many things. "Under new rules, we are taking into account temporary issues that may be there in the network as well as geographical spread of the network", Sharma said.

Similarly, the DCR temporal distribution measure stipulates that in the worst case or during busy hours, call drop rate must not exceed the 3% benchmark for 97% of the towers in a telecom circle for 90% of the days. These include factors such as number of users accessing the network at that time; the area covered by the BTS (base transceiver station); whether the customer is indoors or outdoors, application being used by the customer; peak/off-peak time; kind of device or hardware being used; additional external interference as well as the quantum of spectrum available.

Call drop is a concern that has been flagged many times and it is affecting Indian mobile phone market which is the second largest in the world.

Telecom operators' body COAI said that it is still studying the "voluminous amendment with multiple recommendations" in the new regulations, adding that consumer experience is key for the industry and new rules are in place to ensure that the operators remain fully compliant.

"Over and above this, issues like Right-of-Way and misinformation amongst citizens around EMF emission issues are still major problems, refusing to die down, preventing TSPs from accessing crucial sites for seamless connectivity".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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