Fewer call drops soon as Delhi civic body, cell firms agree on tower fees
Delhi residents may have some respite from frequent call drops with the municipal corporations and mobile service providers coming to an agreement on the fee for installation of mobile towers, sources said.delhi Updated: Aug 26, 2016 23:27 IST
Delhi residents may have some respite from frequent call drops with the municipal corporations and mobile service providers coming to an agreement on the fee for installation of mobile towers, sources said.
The agreement paves the way for new towers and regularisation of existing ones. The corporations and the companies had been at war over charges since 2010.
Over 800 illegal mobile towers were sealed last year due to non-payment of fees and violation of building bylaws last year, leading to an increase in weak signals and call drops.
“A closed-door meeting was held in June to discuss mobile tower installation charges where municipal officials and representatives of mobile phone companies came to an agreement. The phone companies agreed to pay R2 lakh per mobile tower once in every five years,” said a municipal official.
Cellular Operators Authority of India sources confirmed the agreement. The final deal will be submitted before the high court in the first week of September.
Rajan S Mathews, DG, COAI, said in a statement, “We’re still in the process of negotiating with the MCD. Once the inputs of the telecom industry are taken on board, we would be happy to welcome this development. It would impact over 450 mobile towers in the city positively, which have been sealed. Upon resolution this would have an incremental impact on connectivity in Delhi.”
Mobile phone operators had approached the Delhi high court in 2010 against the MCD’s decision to change its policy on the establishment of such towers.
The corporation had hiked the one-time fees paid by operators for each tower from `1 lakh to `5 lakh.
Apart from increasing revenue for the municipal corporations, the agreement comes at a time when mobile phone users are struggling with poor connectivity.
“Once the agreement is signed, new phone towers will come up in the city. Also, mobile towers sealed due to lack of permission may be regularised by the corporation after the agreement,” said a municipal official.
There are 7,926 official mobile towers under the jurisdiction of the three municipal corporations. Apart from these, officials say there are more than half of the number running without permission.
“The total number of mobile towers before trifurcation was 5,252. The number increased exponentially in the past three years, especially near residential areas,” said a municipal official.
Technical experts said call drops are a result of an increase in number of dead zones due to either fewer mobile towers in the range or due to hindrance in the signal movement.
Towers have a 5-km range; signals weaken outside this range. The tower would have gone out of range, or you are in a ‘dead zone’.