Industry body COAI will reiterate its request to Trai to extend the implementation of revised call drop norms by six months as telecom operators need time to make changes and in case the sectoral regulator goes ahead with October 1 deadline, the industry should not be penalized for a couple of quarters.
COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said operators need to put in codes in telecom towers and it requires time, so a leeway of six months should be granted to them.
He further said implementing the new norms from October 1 will let most of the operators breaching the call drop benchmarks as the infrastructure would not be tuned for the revised methodology.
Mathews said the industry is hopeful of a positive response from Trai in this regard.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in August had announced revised quality of service (QoS) or call drop rules, providing for a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on mobile operators if they fail to meet the benchmarks.
The penalty, which stood at Rs 50,000 earlier, will increase to Rs 10 lakh in case of repeat violation of the benchmarks for two consecutive quarters.
Besides the penalty provision, Trai has also revised the methodology for assessing call drops as it feels that the earlier method of averaging the call drop rate was acting as a cover for the poorly performing towers.
COAI on September 7 had written a letter to Trai to defer the implementation by six months. Mathews said all the operators want the rules to be deferred. The members of COAI include Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Telenor.
In the revised framework, the regulator has made the measurement of call drop rate more granular.
Under the revised rules, to measure the 2 per cent benchmark, Trai will see if 90 per cent of the base transceiver station (BTS) or mobile towers are working properly for 90 per cent of days.
Regarding interconnect usage charges (IUC), Mathews said operators are likely to challenge the revised rates in courts. Trai has reduced the charges to 6 paisa per minute from 14 paisa per minute. The new IUC regime will be put in place from October 1. The charges are set to become zero in two years.
Meanwhile, COAI is organizing the telecom event India Mobile Congress along with K AND D Communications, from September 27 to 29. The event will saw participation of top bosses of telecom firms like Mukesh Ambani from Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal from Bharti Airtel, Kumar Mangalam Birla from Idea Cellular apart from Communications Minister Manoj Sinha, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan