Tightening regulations, telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) , on Thursday, raised the penalty on telecom operators to up to Rs 2 lakh for poor mobile service quality, including call drops. The penalty amount would be as high as Rs 2 lakh if the operators are unable to meet the benchmark set for the quality of service in two or more subsequent quarters, TRAI said.

“The proportion (incidents) of non-compliance in case of customer related parameters are more than that of network related parameters. Hence the Authority has decided to impose identical structure of financial disincentive in both cases,” TRAI said in a statement.

As per the rules, call drop, availability of mobile towers, time taken for a call to connect, network congestion, voice quality and network related issues feature in TRAI’s service quality parameters.

As per existing norms, there is a penalty provision of up to Rs 50,000 for the first violation and Rs 1 lakh for subsequent failures in case of network related quality parameters. However, with regard to consumer-related issues the penalty was capped at Rs 50,000 for each violation.

Now for the first time violation of service quality benchmark, the fine has been increased to Rs 1 lakh.

Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “The whole industry is focussed on call drops issue. Have assured the Telecom Minister about measures. We will wait for final call taken by the DoT on compensation. The government is in process of giving companies more sites for towers.”

The irritation over call drops is clearly showing. Recently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley could not conceal his impatience and pulled up Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao in a meeting.

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