New Delhi, Aug 19: The Indian telecom watchdog on Friday announced stricter rules over call drops and said telecom operators who don’t meet the norms can be fined at least Rs 5 lakh.
“Graded financial disincentives in case service providers fail to meet the DCR (drop call rates) benchmarks have been introduced, in which amount payable may depend upon the extent of deviation from the benchmarks,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.
It said that if the benchmark is not met, the service provider may be fined up to Rs 5 lakh against one parameter “depending upon the extent of deviation of performance from the benchmark.
“In case of consecutive contravention of the benchmarks for two quarters, financial disincentive may be up to one-and-half times and in case of consecutive contravention of the benchmark for more than two quarters, it may be twice the amount,” said the regulator.
TRAI said the amended regulation of “Quality of Services” (QoS) would be effective from October 1.
Previously, penalty on call drop norm violation was Rs 50,000 per violation.
The industry body, Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), said the industry has always placed consumer experience at its centre and these rules are in place to ensure that all the operators remain fully compliant. “All our members follow the strictest standards and remain compliant with all QoS benchmarks.”
In the present methodology of assessment of call drops, averaging was being done to evaluate the performance of the network over the entire service area and it was being averaged every month.
The regulator said the averaging in effect hides the poorly performing cells.
“As a result, while service providers were meeting the benchmarks, customers were complaining about the poor quality of service.”
TRAI said the revised methodology would be done on percentile basis.
“It will remove the anomaly which was getting introduced due to averaging of DCR of bad performing cells in the network with good or excellent performing cells.”
However, COAI said the quality of service provided by a network is beyond the absolute control of a network service provider. “The quality of service available from a network is dependent on a number of extraneous factors which may not only be environmental.”
The TRAI undertook a public consultation on Quality of Service matter by releasing a consultation paper on August 5, 2016. Following this an open house discussion was held with stakeholders at Chennai on December 21, 2016. The amended regulations were formulated after considering the comments from the industry stakeholders.