Telecom firms yet to compensate customers for faulty service

Kathmandu, December 6

Though it has been almost six months that the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) made it mandatory for telecom companies to compensate their customers for faulty services, telecom operators are yet to implement this compensatory provision.

NTA had introduced the Telecom Quality Service Bylaw in mid-July which requires telecom operators to compensate their customers for call drops that customers have to face during phone calls. Call drop in telecommunication sector refers to cut off in phone connections before users themselves hang up phone calls.

Such regulatory provision was introduced for the first time in the domestic telecom sector in a bid to regulate services being provided by domestic telecom operators following rising complaints related to telecommunication services.

However, customers have not been able to reap this benefit from telecom companies due to low implementation mechanism of NTA. As NTA — the telecommunication sector regulator — has not put in any serious effort to implement the provision, telecom companies have been defying the provision citing that they are not in a position to reimburse customers for all types of quality defects that customers face in their network.

“Dropped calls are not entirely due to the fault of telecom companies. The quality of mobile sets and the place from where customers are using the telecom company’s network also determine the quality of telecom services,” said Prativa Baidhya, spokesperson for Nepal Telecom.

“In such circumstances, telecom companies cannot reimburse customers for all service quality faults, including call drops that customers have to face,” she added.

As per Baidhya, NT has already written a letter to NTA notifying the inconvenience in implementing compensatory provision. “However, NTA has not responded to NT’s letter.”

Moreover, telecom operators have also urged NTA to make amendments in the Telecom Quality Service Bylaw and make the compensatory provision more flexible.

However, NTA is not in a mood to amend the bylaw.

“Telecom companies have not yet implemented the compensatory provision. There is no point in amending the rule before telecom companies actually start implementing the provision,” said Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA.

Aryal informed that NTA had been quite flexible in implementing the compensatory provision fully as it would require telecom operators to update their software and add new equipment.

“It has already been six months since the provision was enforced, so NTA will now start monitoring telecom firms and their services. If they are found not compensating customers for faulty services, NTA will take necessary action,” said Aryal.