Millennium Post

Telecom regulator Trai seeks penal powers as firms flunk call drop test

"As hon'ble Supreme Court in its judgement has observed that Trai does not have power to impose such (call drop) penalty on telecom operators, we will write to DoT today for amendment in Trai Act to give us more power," Trai Secretary Sudhir Gupta said.

The Supreme Court recently quashed a rule of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) which mandated telecom operators to compensate consumers Re 1 for each call drop with upper limit at Rs 3 per day. 

At present, disputes between consumers and telecom operators are not taken up by consumer courts as a Supreme Court judgement of 2009 had barred seeking any such relief under the Consumer Protection Act, saying a special remedy is provided under the Indian Telegraph Act.

 The National Telecom Policy 2012 envisages "to undertake legislative measures to bring disputes between telecom consumers and service providers within the jurisdiction of consumer forums established under the Consumer Protection Act". 

However, it is yet to be executed by the government. Trai on Wednesday published result of test drive conducted in Delhi between May 3-6, and in next 15 days will publish result of test drive conducted in 12 cities. 

While telecom operators claim to have improved network by installing additional mobile towers, the report said "All 3G networks; 2G networks of Airtel and MTNL and CDMA network of RCom have shown degradation in performance compared to previous drive test". 

In the latest test drive conducted by Trai in Delhi, state-run telecom operators MTNL failed on all network based quality of service parameters. "Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Aircel and Idea need to further improve the Call Drop Rate performance. The CDMA operators and MTNL need to improve across all parameters, in order to offer acceptable levels of service," Trai said. 

"In case of Call Drop Rate most of the operators except Reliance 2G and Vodafone 3G are not meeting the threshold of the benchmark," said the Trai report. The regulator found Aircel was using Radio Link Time Out more than its peers to mask call drops. 

"Most operators have improved their network performance. However, in case of network of Aircel, it is noticed that the RLT value in most of the cells has increased. If RLT values are assumed to be 40 in case of Aircel, its present call drop rate of 2 per cent would increase to approximately 5.8 per cent," Trai report said.
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