The policy to impose penalty for call drops may be reconsidered if the telecom companies agree to compensate call drops with equal number of free calls to consumers without any pre-condition, Trai told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“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,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph.
Citing Telenor as an example, the AG said that if Telenor can come out with a scheme to give free calls for every call drop, so could other telcos. “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,” he added. Rohatgi contended that telecom companies are responsible for majority of the call drops attributable to the networks but they don’t bother to invest on technology. “Total of 96 percent of population is pre-paid customers. Average re-charge per day is Rs 10. More than 60-70 crore people deposit their money in advance with service providers without any interest being paid to them but when we ask these firms to compensate Rs 3 per day for call drops, then they say we can’t do it,” he said.
The AG added that although there was no stay on the regulations either from the High Court or Supreme Court but still it has not been enforced as the telecom companies are not providing them the data of call drops.
The bench is hearing an appeal by the COAI, a body of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance, which have challenged the Delhi High Court order upholding Trai’s decision on call drop.