Indian cellcos take call drop fight to Supreme Court

telecomasia.net

India's telecom industry has followed through with threats to challenge the court order upholding regulator Trai's decision to require operators to compensate mobile users for call drops.

The Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear the appeal from mobile industry groups COAI and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI), NDTV reported.

The industry groups had petitioned the court seeking an urgent hearing to challenge the Delhi High Court's decision to reject petitions from COAI and 21 operators seeking to have the order overturned.

Under the Delhi court's decision, Trai will be entitled to enforce the compensation order retroactively from January 1. The order requires operators to compensate users 1 rupee ($0.015) per dropped call experienced, up to a cap of 3 rupees per day.

Indian mobile operators have argued that the order is a knee-jerk reaction that penalizes them for factors frequently outside of their control, and could have significant financial consequences.

Cellcos operating in India's hyper-competitive market struggle with spectrum scarcity due to the number of entrants - although new regulations allowing spectrum sharing and trading promise to alleviate this somewhat.

Operators also sometimes face difficulty securing approval to build required mobile towers due to what COAI calls unfounded myths about the health risks posted by mobile tower emissions. 

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