With an aim to curb call drops, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has increased the penalty and imposed financial disincentive in the range of Rs 1-5 lakh.
"We have proposed financial disincentive in the range of Rs 1-5 lakh. It is a graded penalty system depending on the performance of a network," Trai Chairman RS Sharma said.
TRAI Secretary SK Gupta said if an operator fails to meet a call drop benchmark in consecutive quarters, the penalty amount will be increased 1.5 times and in the third consecutive month it would be doubled, subject to a cap of Rs 10 lakh on financial disincentive.
Currently, telcos need to pay Rs 50,000 to 1 lakh for call drops or if they are not meeting the norms.
Sharma further said that "There have been some issues in the measurement of call drops. Averages hide a lot of things. Under the new rules, we are taking into account temporary issues in the network as well as geographical spread of the network."
The regulator also noted that this would be effective from October 1, 2017.
Graded financial disincentives in case service providers fail to meet the DCR (drop all rates) benchmarks have been introduced, in which amount payable may depend upon the extent of deviation from the benchmarks," the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) further added.
The watchdog added if telecom operators do not meet the benchmark, the service provider may be fined up to Rs. 5 lakhs against one parameter "depending upon the extent of deviation of performance from the benchmark and in the case of consecutive contravention of the benchmarks for two-quarters, financial disincentive may be up to one and half times, and in the case of consecutive contravention of the benchmark for more than two quarters, it may be twice the amount.
At present methodology of assessment of call drop by averaging was being to evaluate the performance of the network over the entire services area, and the results were averaged every month to rate which operator has more call drops. Trai highlighted that averaging in effect hides the poorly performing cells.
"As a result, while service providers were meeting the benchmarks, customers were complaining about the poor quality of service."