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Call drop penalty to cost telcos Rs 200 cr per quarter, says Trai

Telecom regulator claims amount less than 1% of total revenues of cellular operators

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

IMP: Compensation for call drops to cost Rs 200 cr/per quarter to telcos: TRAI

Rebutting the claims of service providers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Thursday said the the total financial implications of compensation for call drops to mobile users would not be more than Rs 200 crore per quarter, which is less than one per cent of total revenues of the operators.

“Based on data of the telecom service providers (TSPs), the authority had conducted a detailed analysis of the call data and call drops data.... However, as per the regulation, there is a ceiling on relief of Rs 3 per subscriber a day, thus, the likely financial implications would be even less than Rs 200 crore per quarter,” Trai stated in a note.

“It is technically possible for the TSPs to implement the regulation, and sufficient time has been given to them to make suitable provisions regarding the same,” it added.

On October 15, Trai had mandated telcommunication companies (telcos) to pay subscribers Rs 1 for every call drop on their network, subject to a cap of three call drops a day, starting from January 1, 2016.

According to the norms, telcos must intimate prepaid customers through SMS or unstructured supplementary service data within four hours of a call drop, and mention the amount credited. For postpaid customers, details of the credit should be provided in the next bill. A few weeks ago, operators had asked Trai to withdraw the regulation for mandatory compensation for call drops.

However, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) wrote to Trai, saying the regulator’s order would force them to increase rates to recover costs.

For the sector, the annual compensation due to dropped calls might range from Rs 10,000 crore (in case 10 per cent of subscribers claim compensation) to Rs 54,000 crore (50 per cent of subscribers claiming compensation. Also, according to independent estimates, the regulation for compensation on call drops would lead to a three per cent hit on revenue and seven-eight per cent hit on the mobile earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of telecom entities, the letter had said.

“The compensation policy would also increase disputes, consumer mistrust and costs,” the letter said, adding, “It would result in a sharp increase in call drops, as countless customers will cause the calls to drop to obtain Rs 3 a day as compensation,” it said.

Also, Trai said the reports that compensation was not feasible were based on wrong inputs and the regulation was issued after a transparent consultation with all the stakeholders and a detailed analysis of the facts and figures.

Also, the reports about financial implications of Rs 54,000 crore a year on account of call drop compensation are exaggerated and appear to be based on COAI/AUSPI’s apprehension that 50 per cent of the consumers would manipulate and misuse the regulation to get Rs 3 every day from the TSPs. “Such a sweeping presumption about the consumers is certainly not correct,” Trai noted.


AGAINST CALL DROPS
  • According to the regulation, there is a ceiling on relief of Rs 3 per subscriber a day
  • On October 15, Trai had mandated telcos to pay subscribers Rs 1 for every call drop on their network, subject to a cap of 3 call drops a day, starting from January 1, 2016
  • According to norms, telcos must intimate prepaid customers through SMS or unstructured supplementary service data within 4 hours of a call drop
  • COAI and AUSPI have told Trai the regulator’s order would force them to increase rates to recover costs

First Published: Fri, November 13 2015. 00:28 IST
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