Cellcos fined for breaking user verification rules, ordered to begin call drop compensation

3 Mar 2016

The Indian government has imposed fines totalling INR3.24 billion (USD47.82 million) on the nation’s cellcos for violations of customer verification rules in the nine months to end-December 2015. The Economic Times cites Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as saying that only INR621.5 million of the total had actually been collected, however. State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) was the worst offender, receiving a fine of INR737.6 million, followed by Vodafone (INR502.5 million), Tata Teleservices (INR437.3 million), Idea Cellular (INR417.6 million), Reliance Communications (INR402.0 million) and Airtel (INR387.0 million).

In a related development, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given operators until 7 March to submit compliance reports on the compensation of customers for dropped calls. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in October 2015 the TRAI introduced new rules requiring operators to automatically compensate users for dropped calls from 1 January 2016. The regulations were challenged by the nation’s cellcos, but upheld by a Delhi High Court ruling in late February. Although the operators plan to take the matter to the Supreme Court, they must begin paying the compensation in the meantime.