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TRAI raised penalty on telecom operators to Rs 2 lakh for poor service & call drops


Telecom regulator TRAI on October 2015 raised the penalty on telecom operators for poor mobile service quality, including call drops. The penalty amount would be as high as 2 lakh rupees if the operators are unable to meet the benchmark set for the quality of service in two or more subsequent quarters. The penalty will kick-in if call drops in a quarter averages more than 2 percent of the total traffic in a telecom circle.

As per the rules, call drop, availability of mobile towers, time taken for a call to connect, network congestion, voice quality and network related issues feature in the TRAI's service quality parameters. Consumer-related issues include complaint redressal, refund of wrongly charged money, access to call centre etc. As per existing norms, there is a penalty provision of up to 50 thousand rupees for the first violation and 1 lakh rupees for subsequent failures in case of network related quality parameters. However, with regard to consumer-related issues the penalty was capped at 50,000 rupees for each violation.

Now for the first time violation of service quality benchmark, the fine has been increased to 1 lakh rupees. If telecom operators fail to meet the benchmark on the same parameter further, a penalty of up to 1.5 lakh rupees for the second violation and 2 lakh rupees thereafter. TRAI said, these measures will act as a sufficient deterrent against prolonged non-compliance and will further improve the quality of service in a time-bound manner. The regulator has found no significant improvement in the call drop issue in Mumbai and Delhi as operators are lagging on various fronts in meeting the standards.