Concerns raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on call drops will be conveyed directly to promoters of telecom companies, with a warning letter saying the government will impose strict penalty if they do not resolve the issue, a senior official of the telecom department said.
The government has also ordered a special audit of the mobile networks to monitor call drops, and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been asked to recommend a system of rewards and penalties, virtually putting telcos on notice to raise service standards.
Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday held a high-level meeting with his ministry officials and asked secretary Rakesh Garg to convey the concerns to owners of private telecom firms. “I have held a meeting of top officials and they will deal with the operators on call drops. Prime Minister has also raised concerns over it,” he said. The minister felt that there has been lack of investments by telcos in enhancing networks, sources said.
Garg informed Prasad that “the telecom companies have sought 30-45 days to reduce the call drops,” the official added.
The telcos have not yet optimised the spectrum, which was allocated in February, Prasad was told. Telcos will also be informed about the quality of service report. “Both Delhi and Mumbai have failed in QoS parameters, especially call drops,” the official said.
The Trai, which already conducts the quality of service (QoS) audit, may be asked to carry out a regular audit on call drops. But it does not have power to levy penalty for not meeting those standards, hence the government proposes to use the provision in licencing condition to levy penalty.
Globally, the US regulator FCC, and the UK regulator Ofcom have powers to levy penalties, which can be 1% of operators’ annual revenues.