New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court stuck down Trai's regulation to compensate consumers for call drops, Bharti Airtel announced to voluntary implement a more stringent benchmark of 1.5 percent for call drops.
The country's top operator will contribute towards rural education Rs 1 lakh for every 0.01 percent increase in call drop rate beyond 1.5 percent every month in each circle of operation, subject to a maximum of Rs 100 crore per annum.
Airtel said it will implement 25 percent more stringent mobile call drop benchmark of 1.5 percent versus 2 percent prescribed by the regulator Trai.
"Based on the calculation of the call drop rate during network busy hour on a monthly average, any amount calculated for exceeding the 1.5 percent voluntary benchmark, subject to a maximum of Rs 100 crore per annum, will be contributed by it towards the education of underprivileged children in rural areas," Airtel said in a statement.
The Supreme Court had yesterday struck down Trai's regulation making it mandatory for telecom companies to compensate subscribers for call drops saying it was "manifestly arbitrary" and an "unreasonable restriction" on the fundamental rights of telcos to carry on the business.
Airtel said the initiative is an industry first and underlines its commitment to serve its customers with world-class services by prescribing to stricter quality of service norms.
The company will report its quality of service data and the amount calculated on a quarterly/annual basis to ensure transparency.
"This self-regulation on quality of service further underlines our commitment to our customers despite the challenges of limited spectrum availability and acquisition of sites in urban areas," Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said.
The company said it has decided to apply this standard benchmark across the country despite the constraint of difficult operating conditions in some areas, in particular hilly regions such as Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and North East.
Airtel has already rolled out Project Leap in November last year, under which it aims to invest Rs 60,000 crore over the next three years, to transform its network.
"During FY16, Airtel invested over Rs 15,000 crore across India towards deployment of over 88,000 sites. This is the largest network deployment anywhere in the world outside of China and reinforces our sharp focus on building a future ready network," Vittal added.
Airtel said its network covers 96 percent of India's population and reaches 7,885 census towns and 779,919 non-census towns and villages.