Union telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked operators to end the menace of dropped calls, saying voice services must not suffer because of their emphasis on improving the more profitable mobile internet service among the world’s second largest subscriber base.
“Make more profits, but please concentrate on services,” Prasad told India Today news channel, flagging an issue that has been affecting more than 10 million mobile subscribers across the country.
Dropped calls – used to describe disrupted connections – have become one of the biggest problems for mobile subscribers in recent times, forcing even Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene.
Operators blame the lack of spectrum and shutting down of a large number of towers over health concerns for the growing problem of dropped calls.
Prasad acknowledged that the government is aware of complaints against telecom operators giving more priority to data services.
“While we appreciate data expansion in a big way, voice should not be a casualty,” Prasad said while asking operators to “optimise” their networks.
“We have been very, very proactive. We will be more active. But what is also important is that operators too have to do their bidding,” he said.
During a recent meeting, the Prime Minister too voiced serious concern over dropped calls and directed officials to resolve the problem urgently.
Telecom operators have said about 7,000 to 10,000 sites have been locked or shut down across major cities and have sought a uniform national policy for installing mobile towers.
The department of telecommunications has warned that if the operators fail to address the problem of dropped calls, the government has the option of levying a penalty under licence conditions.
Referring to the perception that radiation from mobile towers can affect people, Prasad said, “The point I would like to highlight is that complaint against call drop and campaign against towers cannot go hand in hand.”
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