A day after the apex court waived call drop penalties from telecom service providers, Bharti Airtel on Thursday announced a 25 percent more stringent voluntary call drop benchmark.
It said in a statement it has set a benchmark of 1.5 percent for mobile call drops against the current Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) prescribed norm of 2 percent under the quality of service regulations.
"Based on the calculation of the call drop rate during network busy hour on a monthly average, any amount calculated for exceeding the 1.5 percent voluntary benchmark, subject to a maximum of Rs.100 crore per annum, will be contributed by Airtel towards the education of underprivileged children in rural areas," the statement said.
After the Supreme Court verdict on Wednesday, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "Consumers expect mobile operators to provide good services. I as the minister will keep a check that they are doing it."
"At Airtel, we are absolutely passionate about serving our customers and have deployed globally benchmarked technologies and processes. This self-regulation on Quality of Service further underlines our commitment to our customers despite the challenges of limited spectrum availability and acquisition of sites in urban areas," said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.
"We have already rolled out Project Leap, our pan-India network transformation programme, under which we transparently report our site deployments and invite our customers to log their network issues and site requirements," he added.
Following the new benchmark, Airtel will contribute Rs.1 lakh for every 0.01 percent increase in call drop rate beyond 1.5 percent every month in each circle of operation, the statement said.
"Airtel has decided to apply this standard benchmark across the country despite the constraint of difficult operating conditions in some areas, in particular hilly regions such as Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and North East," it added. Airtel's mobile network in India serves over 250 million subscribers across the country.