Proposed India Call Drop Rules Already Have Produced Financial Damage

Whatever else happens as a result of new proposed dropped call credits for consumers, and penalties on mobile operators, equity prices for public Indian mobile firms initially have taken a hit, falling about three percent.

Concerned about call drop rates, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has proposed a credit of about one rupee (about one U.S. cent) for as many as three call drops per day, paid to customers. In addition, there are penalties for the mobile service provider as well.

"Taking an average four-percent call drop rate, our analysis shows that the penalty could have three-percent hit on revenues and seven to eight percent hit on mobile EBITDA for Bharti and Idea," says Sunil Tirumalai, Credit Suisse research analyst.

Some might argue the potential damage could be higher than that. Though it is virtually impossible to quantify, the cost of billing operations to identify which calls actually dropped, and then apply service credits, might cost more than the one-rupee penalty itself.


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