Can Re­con­sider Penalty If Tel­cos Give Free Calls for Call Drops: Trai to SC

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Press Tr­sut of In­dia

New Delhi: Trai on Tues­day told the Supreme Court (SC) that it has to safe­guard 100 crore tele­com sub­scribers and if com­pa­nies agree to com­pen­sate call drops with equal num­ber of free calls to con­sumers with­out pre-con­di­tions then it is open to re-con­sider its di­rec­tion im­pos­ing penalty on them.

“If Te­lenor can of­fer free call for ev­ery call drops un­der its scheme ‘call katega- muft call mi­lega’, then other ser­vice providers can also do so but it should be with­out any pro­vi­sos. If they agree to do so, then we are open to con­sid­er­ing it,” At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi said.

Ro­hatgi, ap­pear­ing for Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity of In­dia (Trai), be­fore a bench of jus­tices Kurian Joseph and RF Na­ri­man, said that the is­sue is that tele­com com­pa­nies never agree to any of the ar­range­ments sug­gested to them by the reg­u­la­tor for com­pen­sat­ing the con­sumers.

“We have to safe­guard the in­ter­est of 100 crores of sub­scribers. We sug­gested the ser­vice providers to re­credit the time back to the con­sumers for the call drop, we asked them to give free calls but ev­ery time they say it is not fea­si­ble,” Ro­hatgi said.

He said the Te­lenor scheme also has a pro­viso that the free calls will be given for ev­ery call drop, but that call has to be made on in­tra net­work and not in­ter net­work and sec­ond the free calls has to be made in 24 hours.

“If the tel­cos agree that there will be no pro­vi­sos of any kind and they are ready to give free calls for ev­ery call drops to the con­sumers, then we are open to look­ing into our reg­u­la­tions pe­nal­is­ing them,” Ro­hatgi said. The bench said then why Trai has not asked other ser­vice providers also to fol­low free call com­pen­sa­tion plan for call drops.

“They (Tel­cos) said re­cred­it­ing tim­ing is not pos­si­ble as it has to be done in two days which is not pos­si­ble if a per­son is on roam­ing for more than two days. They said giv­ing free calls is also not fea­si­ble. We were left with no other op­tion,” the AG said.

COAI, a body of Uni­fied Tele­com Ser­vice Providers of In­dia and 21 tele­com op­er­a­tors, in­clud­ing Voda­fone, Bharti Air­tel and Re­liance, have chal­lenged the Delhi High Court or­der up­hold­ing Trai’s de­ci­sion mak­ing it manda­tory for them to com­pen­sate sub­scribers for call drops from this Jan­uary.

Tele­com cos have op­posed Trai’s de­ci­sion mak­ing it manda­tory to com­pen­sate sub­scribers for call drops from this Jan­uary


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