New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai has written to the Department of Telecom to amend the Trai Act seeking powers including imposing penalty on telecom operators for unsatisfactory service to subscribers.
A senior DoT official said a proposal to amend the Trai Act has been received from the regulator seeking more powers including imposing penalty on operators and the suggestion is under consideration.
With the number of operators increasing, the quality of specially mobile service has declined and the regulator and the licensor have been receiving complaints regarding the quality of service, billing and metering, refund of security deposit, tariffs and unsolicited commercial calls.
These complaints are then forwarded to the respective service providers for appropriate action and at present there is no statutory provision in the Trai Act for penalising an operator for not addressing any of these problems on time.
Trai has quality of service (QoS) regulations but in the absence of penalty powers, these regulations are not adhered strictly.
Telcos had earlier opposed Trai’s plans to introduce “special quality of service norms” to monitor performance on call drops, fault repair, refunds, and billing complaints saying “such norms should not form part of regulations” because “the competitive market forces operators to address quality issues to survive and retain their customers”.
Operators feel regulatory intervention is not required as telcos were already “pursuing marketing strategies designed to differentiate their brand from rival offerings based on dimensions of service quality such as superior network coverage, reliability, and voice quality”.
At present only the DoT has penalty powers and Trai has powers to set tariffs.
Trai is also considering setting up a grievance monitoring system to protect the interests of consumers and to ensure that telecom service providers address and resolve customer complaints within the stipulated timeframe.
Currently there exists no system that could tell if customer complaints like billing or the quality of service has been addressed or not.