Call drops: Verdict on Trai’s compensation order likely tomorrow

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The Delhi High Court is expected to pass a judgment tomorrow on petitions filed by GSM and CDMA lobby bodies challenging Trai’s order making it mandatory for telcos compensate subscribers for call drops from January onwards.

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Trai, on October 16 last year, passed a regulation which mandates telcos to pay consumers one rupee per call drop experienced on their networks, subject to a cap of Rs 3 a day. Since then there has been a tug of war between the telecom regulator and cellular service providers in the country on compensation for call drops.

Trai had earlier told the High Court that consumers have a right to get compensated for call drops. The regulator said that call drops penalty was different from the quality of service guidelines that telcos have to follow under the licence conditions.

However, telcos had argued that even if the consumers were facing a problem, a regulation without statutory backing cannot be created.

Indian telcos had termed the regulation as arbitrary and whimsical. They had contended that providing compensation to consumers amounted to interfering with the companies' tariff structure and this could be done only by an order and not a regulation.

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