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Call Drops Issue: Supreme Court asks TRAI to clear the Penalty issue for Call drops

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New Delhi: Yesterday, i.e. on 17th March, the honourable Supreme Court of India has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India- TRAI to submit its stand on its regulation, which is penalizing Mobile Phone Service Providers in the view of its technical paper admitting that the Telecom Operators have faced problems because of sealing of cell phone towers and shortage of spectrum.

The matter is pending before the Apex Court’s concerned bench compring of Justice- Kurian Joseph and Justice- R. F, Nariman. The bench further found asking the Counsel representing TRAI and Additional Solicitor General- P. S. Narisimha and also to the Advocate Sanjay Kapoor that they should clarify the issue that whether the telecom regulator stood by its penalty regime even though the technical paper was issued later. This issue the Court has sought to be cleared by these advocates by filing a fresh affidavit in the court.

However, as the clarification preferred by the TRAI, it was submitted that it is understanding the problems which the Service Providers are facing, as of inadequate number of cell towers and civic bodies sealing them and also as shortage of spectrum making handling of large number of calls difficult. Moreover, it said that several technical recommendations were made by it for improving the services, which if implemented would considerably reduce call drops.

As per contentions of the Kapil Sibal who is appearing for Cellular Operators Association of India- COAI and also a Telecom Minister- he said that there was shortage commercial buildings in the Zone of Lutyen’s Bungalow, and then he said that there could not be put up an adequate number of cell towers. Moreover, he said there was interference from beyond the country’s border, in the border areas, and this was leading to unsatisfactory service. Sibal further stated that civic bodies continue to seal cell phone towers despite of restraint order of the High Court.

Moreover, the Justice- R. F. Nariman observed that it is appearing “Prima facie” that the technical papers showing telecom companies are “not responsible for call drops”. Thus, now the bench has decided to require the TRAI to submit its stand on this issue.

Adv. Faim Khalilkhan Pathan

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