TRAI to finalize penalty on call drop issues for March quarter

Indian telecom regulator TRAI is in the final stage of imposing penalty on mobile operators which have not met call drop norms for the March quarter, PTI reported.
TRAI chairmanTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has earlier asked mobile operators to abide by its new quality of service benchmarks from October 1, 2017.

TRAI has completed two quarters of assessment since the new guidelines on QoS came into force as part of its commitment to reduce call drops.

“For the quarter of January to March, we are in the final stage of issuing the penalty,” TRAI chairman RS Sharma said.

TRAI has issued show-cause notices to erring mobile operators and has given 21 days for submitting their responses.

The assessment is based on network performance of operators between January and March, measured against the TRAI’s new service quality benchmarks.

The telecom regulator has already levied financial disincentive for the December 2017 quarter based on the call drop issues.

Under new rules, call drops are measured at mobile tower level instead of telecom circle level. TRAI was of the view that average calculated at circle level may hide many issues.

TRAI proposed financial disincentive in the range of Rs 1-5 lakh in a graded penalty system depending on the performance of a network, with stringent fines for repeat violations under the new Quality of Service rules.

However, there is cap of Rs 10 lakh on financial disincentive.

Also, earlier rules did not address temporary issues in telecom network like non-functioning of mobile towers or geographical issues like network quality in an underserved town. Many other parameters too were tightened, and the regulator also fixed benchmark for radio-link time out technology (RLT) — purportedly used by operators for masking call drops.

COAI’s director-general, Rajan Mathews said new QoS rules are among the most stringent globally, and that telecom operators in India have make required investments to ensure compliance with the norms.