Indian mobile operators have hit out against the government’s proposals to charge a penalty for dropped calls.
In a joint letter to the Department of Telecoms, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) have warned that the charges could cost the industry as much as INR540 billion ($8.3 billion) a year.
The 2 associations have requested that the telecoms minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, intervene in order to avoid derailing Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India programme. The groups argue that the layout will deter investment in the country and therefore slow growth.
With dropped calls an increasing occurrence in India, regulator TRAI last month stipulated that operators must provide compensation of INR1 ($0.015) to customers for each dropped call they experienced, up to a maximum of 3 dropped calls per day. The country’s operators have appealed the order but TRAI has not capitulated.
The proposal will come into force from January 1, although the operators argue that TRAI lacks the relevant authority to impose the rule, which could reduce operator revenue by as much as 3%.