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Telecom Operators Are Masking Dropped Calls - and Still Charging You

Telecom Operators Are Masking Dropped Calls - and Still Charging You
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

In the race between promoting 4G technology as the fastest way of data transfer there is, telecom network providers in India seem to have forgotten their primary purpose – make regular phone calls. Call drops plague everyone today, especially in moments of crisis. In fact, I personally don’t remember the last time I’ve had a flawless call without constantly saying “excuse me?” or “come again?” at least twice every minute. I shifted to primarily using texting and VOIP instead of regular calls and SMSs more than an year ago because of cost cutting my cellular bill and because the area I lived in had little to no reception at all. Luckily, the courts in India took this as seriously as they should, because nobody should be paying for services that did not work as they are intended to. Telecom regulators TRAI said current norms are “inefficient” to provide any relief to consumers and will finalize its revised Supreme Court’s decision on call drops. TRAI had proposed a new set of rules mandating telecom operators to pay Re 1 for each dropped call, subject to maximum Rs 3 per day, but this provision was quashed by the Supreme Court after telecom operators appealed against the regulatory diktat. However, instead of fixing the problem, telecom operators seem to have found a new way to dodge regulation and accountability.

Clever Masking

Mobile operators are allegedly using a new technology to mask call drops that shows a call as remaining 'connected' even when the network connection is obviously lost and the caller is unable to hear voice from the other side. Earlier, to prevent unnecessary call costs, the call would be automatically disconnected. However, now, this gives the illusion of a still connected call so that the user has to manually decide at some point of time that the call simply isn’t happening. Since the user cuts the phone, it goes in the records that the user manually chose to cut the phone and the call didn’t technically drop on its own. Have you ever noticed how sometimes you’re left at a completely blank reception, unable to communicate? That’s the alleged technology acting up.

Govt Steps In

Radio-Link Technology (RLT) is technically used to assist users connect to a network thereby possibly assisting the call function, however it is also used to mask dropped calls. Telecom operators using clever schemes to nick users of more money isn’t news, and regulatory authorities have repeatedly pulled their socks up for unfair practices. It started with the enactment of the DND (do Not Disturb) service to block unwanted spam, and extend to reduced roaming prices, enabling number and location portability and making SMS’s drastically cheaper. Then came the infamous Facebook Zero and the shocking debate over Net Neutrality, which despite the courts clearly rejecting as unfair has been once again been repealed and from the looks of it so far, might make a resurgence.  Read more about it by clicking here.

What do you think of this under the belt move by Telecom operators? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Edition: December 2016

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