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Indian telcos may face fines for poor service

Country's telecom regulator says telcos repeatedly fail to meet quality of service benchmarks despite measures and proposes fines to fix the problem.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has amended existing rules to penalize telcos that do not meet quality of service standards for mobile and wired telephone.

The Indian telecom regulator proposed these changes because " service providers repeatedly [were] not meeting quality of service benchmarks for some of the prescribed parameters", after monitoring quality of services over several quarters, according to a press statement Tuesday by TRAI. There had also been no consistent improvement in spite of the measures it had taken, the regulator noted.
It proposed "financial disincentives" of 50,000 rupees (US$898.48) for each service parameter telcos fail to meet. This penalty would rise to 100,000 rupees (US$1796.95) on consecutive defaults.

For example, when an operator does not limit its call drop rate to less than 2 percent within 3 months of these amendments coming into place, it will be liable to pay a fine of 50,000 rupees (US$898.48) which will increase to 100,000 rupees (US$1986.95) if the call drop rate is not contained in consecutive quarters.

Fixed line and mobile phone service providers will also have to pay up to 1 million rupees (US$17,970) for submitting a false compliance report and 5,000 rupees (US$89.85) daily for not submitting compliance reports.

Complaints against services offered by Indian telcos are not new. Earlier last month, India's Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ordered Bharti Airtel to pay 25,000 rupees (US$453.35) to a post-paid subscriber as compensation for demanding fresh documents to verify his six-year-old connection and for reportedly blocking his calls despite him agreeing to the request.

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