COAI to appeal to Supreme Court against call drop judgement

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) on Thursday decided to file an special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court challenging the regulation issued by the telecom regulator on call drop penalty on October 16, 2015 and against the ruling of the Delhi High Court in the matter.

GSM body COAI said that it recognises the inconvenience to customers due to call drops and is committed making the necessary investment and improvements to its networks, including working with the government to obtain required cell sites on government land and buildings.

The Delhi High Court on Feb 29 upheld the order of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) making it mandatory for cellular operators to compensate subscribers for call drops.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath ordered that telecom operators would have to compensate subscribers for first three call drops.

The court dismissed the plea of telecom operators for a stay on TRAI’s compensation policy, announced on October 16, 2015, for call drops under which a rupee will be credited to the mobile users’ account for every call drop (restricted to three per day) starting January 1, 2016.

“COAI is requesting the Honorable Supreme Court to consider its prayer that the TRAI Regulation on Call Drops is ultra vires the TRAI Act in that the act does not give TRAI adjudicatory powers and hence TRAI cannot grant compensation,” said COAI in a statement.

“Further, the TRAI regulation is also ultra vires the Telegraph Act of 1885 under which mobile companies are licensed wherein 100 percent coverage of the licensed geography is not required. Hence call drops emanating from these areas should not be subject to compensation. Finally COAI represents that it is impossible to identify all the reasons for call drops and hence implementation of TRAI order is not feasible,” it added.

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