Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents top telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Jio, and Idea Cellular today requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to extend the new call drop norms by another six months.
Last month, Trai issued a new call drop regime, under which operators are expected to face up to Rs. 10 lakh fine for call drops per circle in every quarter. These changes will be effective from October 1, 2017, Trai confirmed on the issue date itself. Operators are required to pay fine only if they fail to meet the voice quality benchmarks set by Trai.
“We have requested Trai to extend new norms for two-quarters. This will, however, help us to understand the norms better while running trials,” COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said in a note issued today. He also said that the operators were in full compliance with this decision.
The regulator claimed that it telecom operators do not meet the benchmark, the service provider may be fined up to Rs. 10 lakhs against one parameter “depending upon the extent of deviation of performance from the benchmark.”
In current testing methodology, Trai believes that there are some flaws. At present, the regulator is measuring the call drops by averaging the performance of the network over the entire service 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.” Trai also confirmed that the revised methodology would measure the call drops on a percentile basis.
Mathews also revealed that they did not hear back from Trai yet on their request. “We have not heard anything back from the Trai on our request yet,” the top executive said. Also, this newly implemented call drop norms which are yet to go live will be completely levied on January 1, 2018, after a three-month period of observations.