Call drop problem to reduce in 1 month, telecoms tell govt

  • M Rajendran, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 18, 2015 12:25 IST

Tired of continuous call drops? The situation is likely to get better soon.

Promoters of telecom companies, including Idea Cellular chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal and Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani, have assured the government that call drops would reduce within 30-45 days.

"The owners have promised to take positive action and show substantial improvement in call quality...they have told me that the managers will be asked to take necessary steps," telecom secretary Rakesh Garg told HT.

The executives have also acknowledged the loss of revenue arising from call drops, in addition to the inconvenience caused to the common man.

"The measures taken by telecom companies will help improve the voice call quality and reduce call drops in the next few days," Garg said.

It is, however, not clear as to what measures operators plan to take to curb call drops. Companies did not respond to HT’s mails for comments on this story till the time of going to press.

Last month, communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Garg to personally make phone calls to heads of telecom companies, asking them to directly intervene and address the call drop issue, failing which, companies would have to face penal action.

"We are hopeful that they will be able to reduce call drops, since most of their requests have been fulfilled," Garg said.

Telcos have blamed the lack of mobile towers and shortage of spectrum for the call drop menace. Following this, Prasad has asked local municipal bodies across the country to reduce tariffs for installing towers. He has also written to state governments to facilitate the process of setting up towers.

“During my call, they (owners of telcos) claimed that more than 10,000 towers have been brought down, but they also acknowledged that about 70-80 towers have been set up during this period," Garg said.

The Cabinet also recently approved spectrum trading guidelines, which will allow operators to sell radiowaves to other service providers, a move that will also help address the problem of spectrum shortage and reduce call drops.

Call drops during peak hours have increased about two-fold in one year across the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also asked Prasad to take all possible measures to address the problem at the earliest.

At a meeting with CEOs of telcom companies last week, TRAI chairman RS Sharma had asked them to improve services, while saying that their performances would be reviewed in 15 days.

The government is awaiting the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the call drop issue. The regulator is likely to issue final recommendations by mid-October on compensation to be given by telcos to customers.

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