India telcos approach Supreme Court over Trai’s call drop regulation

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Indian telecom operators have finally approached the Supreme Court, challenging recent High Court order that upheld the Trai's regulation mandating carriers to compensate consumers for call drop.

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The telcos, through their lobby bodies, COAI and AUSPI, in separate but similar petitions in the Supreme Court, sought a stay on Trai’s regulation till the time the matter is adjudicated. The COAI represents mobile phone operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Telenor and newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm, while Auspi counts pure CDMA players such as Sistema Shyam Teleservices and dual-technology carriers like Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices as its members.

A Supreme Court bench will hear the case on Friday, media reports said, adding that the bench asked telcos on why they don’t correct the system to curb call drops.

Trai last October had ordered telcos to pay users Re 1 for every call dropped on their networks, subject to a cap of three a day, starting January 1, 2016. Telecom operators have contended Trai order and said that it had gone beyond its jurisdiction in imposing penalties on telcos for call drops.

After the Delhi High Court decision on Trai's regulation, the sector regulator had given these telcos until next Monday to submit a compliance report on compensating users for call drops, failing which action would be taken.

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