TRAI Seeks to Ring in Penalty for Call Drops

Says it can’t remain silent to consumer problems; asks stakeholders to provide suggestions by September-end

Published: 05th September 2015 04:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2015 04:10 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI:Finally the news which will be music to millions of mobile phone users across the country. Every time a customer faces a call drop, he/she will not be charged for it, and may even get compensated with extra talk time or money in their account.

Sounds too good to be true? This is what telecom regulator TRAI has recommended in its draft, “Consultation Paper on Compensation to the Consumers in the Event of Dropped Calls”, released on Friday evening.

TRAI.JPGComing ahead of the festive season, consumers are likely to feel elated as they often felt short-changed by the telecom companies. But the real benefit may have to wait, as the TRAI has asked all stakeholders to provide their suggestions for the concept paper by September 21 ‘as safeguarding consumer interests is of paramount importance to the authority’.

With burgeoning complaints from consumers amid facing frequent call drops, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had intervened raising serious concerns on the issue and directed officials to resolve the issue on an urgent basis.

Considering the enormity of the situation, the TRAI recommended to make it mandatory for operators that “any call which gets dropped within five seconds would not be charged at all”. It added that “if a call gets dropped any time after five seconds, the last pulse of the call should not be included for the purpose of charging”.

While recommending the relief measures TRAI said, “The authority cannot remain a silent spectator to the problem of call drops encountered by consumers.”

Citing an example, the regulator explained that if a consumer is on a ‘per-minute-pulse’ and his call gets dropped after 3 minutes and 45 seconds, call charges for only 3 minutes (and not 4 minutes) would be levied on the subscriber.

The second option the regulator has recommended is that service providers offer a ‘credit of talk-time’ for a dropped call to their clients. This is a practice service providers in many countries follow.

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