Telecom companies may soon not be able to get away by blaming call drops and poor call quality on a shortage of spectrum.
According to recommendations issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), operators will have to come up with quarterly reports on spectrum usage and equipment used, from as early as next month.
The move aims to address the rising number of consumer complaints regarding poor quality of services offered by operators. India currently has around 960 million mobile consumers.
The DoT has submitted its recommendations to the communications ministry.
The move to improve service quality was initiated early this year, and the aim was to see as to what extent the lack of spectrum impacts deterioration in call connectivity, SMS delays and buffering in data services.,
“An internal committee has gone into every reason given by operators for not meeting service quality standards. The exercise is in the domain of the telecom regulator. We have submitted our suggestions,” a senior communications ministry official said.
While the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been tracking the quality of services offered by operators on a regular basis, it has never asked for a spectrum audit till date.
The committee on allocation of natural resources has, however, recommended a spectrum audit. The DoT’s wireless planning and coordination wing, responsible for allocation of spectrum and developing a roadmap for its usage, has also said that spectrum is not being optimally used by operators.
Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told HT recently: “Trai is the final authority on issues concerning service quality, but as an elected representative of people and ‘mukhiya’ (leader) of this ministry, I have a responsibility to both. So we will tell operators in our own way to improve the service.”