Telecom regulator Trai has written to operators to ensure compliance with call drop regulations, effective January 1, even as service providers remain defiant and say compensation to subscribers will be paid only after court orders them to do so.
"Trai has written to all telecom operators reminding them about call drop regulations with expectations that they have put all mechanisms in place to comply with them," an official source told PTI.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued amendment in Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations on October 16, 2015 in which it added a rule mandating mobile service providers to compensate their subscribers for call dropped or automatically disconnected due to technical glitches in their network.
The rules mandate telecom operators to provider Re. 1 compensation for each call dropped, with a compensation cap of Rs. 3 per day.
Telecom operators have approached the Delhi High Court against this regulation.
"The matter is sub-judice and we will compensate consumers when court directs us to do so," Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India Secretary General Ashok Sud said.
He said, however, the industry is aware that there is no stay on the regulation.
Trai has submitted before the court that it will not take coercive action against telecom operators till the next date of hearing on January 6.
"Any coercive action for us means to even comply with the regulation. As of today our telecom operators are not ready to implement it because of various complexities that we brought to the notice of the Court," COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said.
Cellular Operators Association of India, AUSPI and 21 telecom operators including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance have said that the decision has been taken knowing fully well that laws of physics make it impossible to provide 100 percent call drop-free network.
Telecom operators have submitted before court if the penalty is levied, the companies will end up paying around Rs. 1,000-1,500 crores.
However, Trai has said that maximum outgo under the rule in a year would be around Rs. 800 crores if networks are not improved.