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Call drops: SC agrees to hear telcos’ plea

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New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a petition filed by two cellular operator associations, challenging a Delhi High Court order in which it upheld the decision of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) making it mandatory for the cellular operators to pay consumers Re.1 per call drop experienced on their networks.

The high court allowed the telecom regulator to implement its decision from January 1. The court order came while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by Cellular Operators Association of India, a body of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance.

Terming the TRAI’s regulation “arbitrary and whimsical”, the telcos contended that providing compensation to consumers amounted to interfering with companies’ tariff structure, which could be done only by order, not regulation.

The high court, while brushing aside the contention of telcos, had also observed that the compensation for call drops was capped at Rs 3 a day.

The court said the TRAI’s regulation mandated only compensating the calling consumer not the receiver. Earlier, TRAI had told the high court that consumers have a right to get compensated for call drops. They said this was different from the quality of service guidelines that cellular service providers have to follow under the licence conditions. (ANI)

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