A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath was told that the petitioners (telecom firms) “have failed to keep the investments commensurate with the pace of increase in usage and the growth in number of subscribers being added by them”
The court was hearing a plea of telecom operators for a stay on TRAI’s compensation policy 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.
Companies had termed TRAI’s October 16 order as contradictory and destructive and sought its quashing.
TRAI refuted the claim of the telecom firms that they would incur huge losses if the compensation rule was implemented
“The total financial implication on service providers was likely to be not more than Rs.800 crore per annum” which would be 0.75 per cent of their Adjusted Gross Revenue of Rs.1,38,566 crores for the year 2014-15, it said.
“The investment made in the infrastructure (other than radio spectrum) in wireless access service segment rose by only 4.6 percent from Rs.2,02,399 crore in the financial year 2012-2013 to Rs.2,11,691 crore in the financial y ear2013-2014,” the affidavit said.
“During this period the minutes of usage (MOU) grew by 6.8 percent and the data usage grew by more than 100 percent. Clearly, the investment has not kept pace with the usage,” it added.
TRAI said it cannot permit telecom firms to “ignore the quality of service of voice calls, which continues to be the primary service for the telecom consumers”.
It also said in its affidavit that the telcos have to compensate a consumer only when the call originates from its network and is dropped within its network.