PHILIPPINE telecoms companies should be fined for “dropped calls” (or “call drops” as India and other countries that use British English also say). India and Malaysia are imposing penalties on their telcos for this failure in their service to consumers.
Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or Trai, as that country’s newspapers call it for short, ordered the equivalent of Smart, Globe and Sun to compensate customers for dropped calls. Indian customers are as outraged as us Filipinos about this annoying failure, which is costly for us users and profitable for the telcos.
The reports in India say this new Trai order will increase legal suits in that industrial sector.
The latest amendment to the Telecom Consumer Protection Regulations that Trai issued orders telcos to credit 1 rupee (US$ 0.15 cents) to a customer user for every dropped call for a maximum of three dropped calls or Rs 3 or US$ 0.45 cents a day. Does this maximum mean that if a user suffers more than three dropped calls during a day the fourth and succeeding failures of the telcos will go unpunished?
The Trai order also requires the telcos to inform the user of the credit within four hours. Post-paid cell phone users will be given details of their credits in their next bill.
These rules will go into effect on January 1st 2016.
Earlier, Trai increased penalties for poor service. From Rs 50,000 (US$7,500), the penalty for a first violation of every parameter of quality of service has been raised to Rs 100,000 or 1 lakh ($15,000). Trai has set 15 quality of service parameters. These cover customer care and technical failures.
Trai decided to issue the new rules after it tested and monitored quality of service in New Delhi, India’s capital, and Mumbai, India’s largest industrial and commercial city. The tests discovered that the telcos’ quality of service did not meet basic standards.
The Indian telcos had of course been legally fighting the regulator. They blame dropped calls and other quality of service problems on government moves and failure to provide sufficient spectrum for the telcos’ use.
Malaysia went after telcos in early 2013
In Malaysia, the communications industry regulator, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), in early 2013 served a fine of (Malaysian ringgit) RM 190,000 ($1 = 4.286 ringgit) on the country’s three largest telcos.
Here, on November 20, 2012 our National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) ordered the three mobile operators to refund subscribers for excess charges of 20 centavos per text. At the time, NTC said that the telcos would need to pay P4 million per day or P1.4 billion for their 2011 refunds. Whatever happened to that?
Meanwhile, we are hoping the NTC will also do something about going after the telcos for dropped calls.