Telecos to be fined up to Rs 10 L for call drops

Ebony Scott
August 19, 2017

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) also fixed benchmark for radio-link time out technology (RLT)-allegedly used by operators for masking call drops. Changing the measurement levels from circle level to tower, TRAI increases the penalty from 1 lakh to maximum 5 lakh on the violation.

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".

Under the previous quality of service rules, penalty on call drop was Rs 1 lakh per violation and could go up to Rs 2 lakh in case of third subsequent violation.

Apart from penalty provision, TRAI has also revised the methodology for assessing call drops as it feels that the earlier method of averaging the call drop rate was acting as cover for the poorly performing towers.

Where telecom companies had to pay Rs 50,000 every quarter for more than two per cent dropped calls, they will have to pay up to Rs 5 lakh for the same period now, depending on the deviation from DCR benchmarks.

The secretary of TRAI, S K Gupta said that the regulator has measured Call Drop Rate (CDR) in more granular from circle level to mobile towers.

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"There have been some issues in the measurement of call drop. Under the new rules, we are taking into account temporary issues in the network as well as geographical spread of the network".

The new rules will come in effect from October 1.

"The average taken at circle level would hide many things. Therefore, we have decided that 90 per cent BTSs (base transceiver station) should meet 2 per cent call drop benchmark (in a quarter)", Sharma said. The new assessment methodology for dropped call rate will look into area-to-area variations in DCR as well as day-to-day variations in DCR, TRAI further added.

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.

"As a result, while service providers were meeting the benchmarks, customers were complaining about the poor quality of service".

Mathews added that issues such as right-of-way and misinformation regarding EMF emission are also major problems preventing telecom operators from accessing crucial sites for setting up telecom towers.

Other reports by GizPress

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