India's Supreme Court strikes down call drop order

telecomasia.net

India's Supreme Court has sided with operators in the legal battle over the regulations requiring them to compensate customers for dropped calls.

The court has struck down an order from telecom regulator Trai that compelled operators to compensate customers to the tune of 1 rupee ($0.015) per dropped call experienced, NDTV reported.

In its order, India's top court called the Trai decision unreasonable, arbitrary and non-transparent, implicitly agreeing with the operators' arguments that call drops are often due to factors outside of their control.

The Cellular Operators' Association of India - an industry body representing India's GSM industry - and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) took their case to the Supreme Court after they were defeated in an earlier Delhi High Court case.

Spectrum scarcity, difficulty securing approvals to set up telecom towers and other factors have made it difficult for Indian operators to ensure call continuity. A substantial number of dropped calls are also attributable to user-related issues such as placing calls on handsets with a low battery.

During the hearing, India's Attorney-General - representing Trai - accused the operators of engaging in cartel-like behavior over the call drop issue.

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