TRAI's CDR idea rejected; Govt to look into Rs 3050 cr penalty

MUMBAI: The telecom ministry has formed a committee to look into TRAI's penalty suggestion on Vodafone, Airtel and Idea as they allegedly failed to provide sufficient inter-connect points (PoI) to Reliance Jio, leading to severe call drops.

Telecom operators across GSM and CDMA platforms meantime turned down TRAI's recommendation of computing call drop rates through a meta data analysis of CDRs (call detail records). This, TRAI asserted, has been designed for billing purpose only, and not for checking quality of service. Such an analysis, the operators said, would project a flawed picture as abnormal call disconnects/terminations could be triggered by handsets getting turned off due to other errors, or due to battery draining out or a subscriber moving to an underground building or a station.

Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) represented the operators, the Economic Times reported.

On the the hand, the union telecom minister Manoj Sinha said the ministry has formed the committee to look into the regulator's recommendation on the proposed Rs 3,050 crore penalty, Business Standard reported. Last month, the regulator had proposed the penalty on the three telcos.

Lately however Reliance Jio has been allegedly limiting all voice calls to 30 minutes. As a part of Jio’s free Welcome Offer, users were allowed unlimited voice calls. However, lately, the calls were being abruptly disconnected after a duration of 30 minutes, which is not an isolated case.

The regulator had earlier sent a letter to the Department of Telecommunications recommending a charge of Rs 50 crore per circle for 21 service areas, except for Jammu & Kashmir, for Airtel and Vodafone. For Idea Cellular, TRAI suggested penalty for 19 circles.

At the meeting of BRICS Ministers of Communications, Sinha said that the committee would give its considerations on the TRAI suggestion.

The regulator's suggestion came after Reliance Jio complained that more than 75 per cent of the calls on its network were dropping since the incumbent operators were not giving sufficient PoIs. The regulator stated that the incumbents went "against public interest."

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