Free voice calls no excuse for poor service quality: TRAI chief tells telcos

PTI Pune | Updated on March 01, 2020

Telcos are citing free voice calls to duck action on poor quality of service, but that will not pass regulatory muster, TRAI Chairman RS Sharma said on Sunday, assuring users that the issue of call drops remains on its agenda.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India head said the watchdog’s earlier provision for a penalty on telecom firms for call drops was successfully challenged in the Supreme Court, but the regulator will continue to work for improving the quality of service.

“Most of the telcos are offering voice free, their argument is that if something is free, how much can you (TRAI) punish me because I am not getting anything for that, which may not be correct because they are essentially cross-subsidising,” Sharma said at the Asia Economic Dialogue here.

After the entry of Reliance Jio in 2016, voice calling has become virtually free as it gets embedded in data plans. This has resulted in entrenched operators losing their biggest revenue stream, which has led to financial troubles.

Trai officials conduct standard tests on roads, trains and other busy spots and any operator found to be giving poor service is punished, he said at the conference co-organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Pune International Centre.

Published on March 01, 2020

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