#HelloHello: Not Just You, Even PM Modi Is Frustrated With Call Drops

He has directed the telecom department to find solutions to the problems faced by customers.

Frustrated over frequent call drops during important conversations over the phone? Well, you are not alone since the Prime Minister of India himself is an annoyed customer. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he too faced difficulties while talking over the phone when he was travelling from Delhi airport to his official residence.

PM Modi made the statement during his monthly web-based interaction with top-level secretaries under the PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation). He has directed the telecom department to find solutions to the problems faced by customers.

According to a report by The Times of India, the Prime Minister cited that he has experienced people facing call drops, especially at the airports. He has asked the telecom secretary to impose fines on telecom operators for call drops.

In the recent years, call drops have been one of the major issues faced by customers. Despite its regular interventions, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has not been able to find a permanent solution to the issue.

A representational image | Source: Indian Express

Here’s what all happened:

  • In October 2015, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued an amendment in the Telecom Consumers’ Protection Regulations in which it asked mobile service providers to compensate their subscribers for call dropped or automatically disconnected due to technical glitches in their network. As per the amendment, telecom operators were directed to give Re 1 compensation for each call dropped, with a compensation cap of Rs 3 per day.
  • In January 2016, Telecom regulator TRAI rewrote to telecom operators asking them to comply its 2015 order. However, the telecom operators refused to comply with the order and threatened to move court.

A representational image | Source: Indian Express

  • A month later, Delhi High Court upheld TRAI order on compensation.  In May 2016, Cellular Operators Association of India, a body of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance moved Supreme Court against high court’s order. The apex court ruled in their favour and said that penalising call drops is “arbitrary, unreasonable and non-transparent”.
  • In August 2017, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India again announced that telecom operators would have to cough heavy penalties ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for call drops. For subsequent violations, TRAI said that the telcos would be fined upto Rs 10 lakh, reports Economic Times.
  • In January this year, the Department of telecommunications (DoT) summoned chief executives of top telecom companies to discuss ways to monitor dropped calls that were announced by the telecom regulator last year.
  •  In June, TRAI said that it is in the final stage of slapping penalty on operators who have not met call drop norms for the March quarter for the year 2018. TRAI chairman R S Sharma said that assessment was based on network performance of operators between January and March, measured against the Trais new service quality benchmarks.

(With inputs from PTI)