TRAI to SC : if call drops are compensated with free calls, will re-look penalty

New Delhi :  TRAI today told the Supreme Court 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 R F 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 re-credit 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 have to be made within 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 penalizing them," Rohatgi said.

The bench said then why TRAI has not asked other service providers also to follow free call compensation arrangement
for call drops.

"They (Telcos) said re-crediting 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 to them. 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.

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Updated Date: Apr 26, 2016 19:10:39 IST

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