TRAI expects to release by this month-end its assessment on the quality of mobile services as benchmarked against the new and more stringent call drop norms, chairman of the telecom regulatory body, RS Sharma said today. The new call drop rules came into force from October 1 and the quarter ended December will see the first instance of reporting under the new formula.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has already asked the operators to submit their network-related data for checking service quality under the new parameters. As per the new rules, the telecom operators may face a maximum penalty of Rs 10 lakh for call drops which will now be measured at mobile tower level instead the telecom circle level.
“Quality of service has been an important criterion for us and call drop is one of the parameters of quality of service,” Sharma told reporters here. He said that the quarterly report of telcos based on new call drop formula will be available to regulator over next few days. “We will examine and publish that and see how the whole thing is proceeding. By end of January, we will able to come out with the outcome, based on new format to see how operators’ service quality has fared as per new norms,” he said.
Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan had recently expressed concern over the call drop situation and had even planned on meeting the telecom operators to ask them ‘to get their act together’. That meeting was, however, deferred following requests from some companies. By next week, TRAI will also come out with its views on rules of tariff assessment on burning issues like promotional offers and predatory pricing.
“We are working on that and I think we will be able to issue it in the next couple of days; maybe early next week,” Sharma said when asked when the regulator will issue the rules of tariff assessment. These issues – being debated as part of TRAI’s consultation paper on ‘Regulatory Principles of Tariff Assessment’ – have been a flashpoint between newcomer Reliance Jio and incumbent operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
The issues being debated include new measures that need to be prescribed to ensure transparency in the tariff offers of telecom operators, and strengthening definition relating to ‘non-discrimination’. TRAI has sought views on which tariff offers should qualify as ‘promotional offers’ and the need to limit the number of promotional offers that can be launched by an operator in a year, one after another or concurrently.
It also seeks suggestions on definition and criteria for ‘dominance’ in relevant telecom markets. Sharma, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an open house discussion on the New Telecom Policy, said TRAI hopes to send to the Telecom Department its inputs for the proposed policy by first week of February. The NTP is being crafted by the telecom department.
An open house discussion will be held in Bangalore next week, he said.