Chiding private telecom operators for repeated call drops on their network, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said lack of spectrum is no excuse for not resolving this problem.
"When people come with complaint about call drop on private mobile operators' network what should I tell them? Private telecom operators need to ponder on this call drop. All this is because lack of spectrum, I'm sorry. I don't buy this," he said at a telecom event organised by television channel NewsX.
Telephone subscribers have been complaining about frequent call drops. Operators have cited lack of spectrum and residents protesting installation of mobile towers as reasons for call drops.
Telecom minister Prasad said that "there is need for better monitoring of entire system" to address the call drop problem.
Industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India said that it is a proven fact that telecom networks in India are very loaded compared to networks in other countries.
"We disagree with the minister. It's law of physics. We can't do much. The Minister said that he wanted to check our resources for that. I am happy to have him get it checked. It will enlighten him," COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said.
He said lack of spectrum is the main reason for call drops. Hurdles posed by local government bodies to installing mobile towers citing radiation issues is another reason. "Unless these issues are addressed, it will be difficult to resolve these problems," Mathews said.
Prasad said the government is going to conduct spectrum auction which is going to provide more spectrum to companies and will auction more airwaves as and when they are freed from existing bodies using them.
The government has scheduled to start bidding rounds for the biggest spectrum auction in value terms from March 4. The Cabinet approved reserve price for auction of 2G spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 Mhz and 1800 MHz bands that at the minimum rate set would get the government Rs 64,840 crore. Of these, the government will get Rs 16,000 crore from 2G spectrum sale and Rs 5,793 crore on 3G airwaves this fiscal and the remainder will flow in later.