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Tough times for mobile users

delhi Updated: Mar 17, 2010 01:36 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times
mobile disconnects

If over the next some days your mobile disconnects mid-conversation — commonly called call drop — be warned, there is worse coming: possible network collapse.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi will seal about 1,532 illegal cellphone towers, which facilitate calls and data transfer, in the city.

All the mobile companies together have 5,364 cellphone towers in Delhi. If 1,500 of them are put out of action, the networks will collapse.

If the operators of illegal 1,532 cell phone towers don’t reply to their showcause notices, they will be sealed, said R K Srivastava, additional commissioner, MCD.

Action has already begun.

Civic body officials have already sealed 226 towers, affecting networks in some parts of the city.

Calls don’t go through — both GSM and CDMA. If they do, expect them to drop suddenly and frequently.

And forget getting mail or updates.

“If 1,500 out of 5,000 towers close down the whole network in Delhi will collapse,” said R.S.P. Sinha, former CMD of MTNL

Delhi telecom region, which includes Noida, Great Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurgaon, has 2.73 crore mobile subscribers as of January 31, and 80 per cent of them are in Delhi.

Most illegal towers sit on top of residential buildings, on hefty rentals.

The civic body wants them to apply for permission, which would be given depending on the structural security and appearance of the building.

Only 2,412 of the 5,364 towers have the necessary clearances.

When sealing begins, South Delhi will be the worst hit with 35 towers already been sealed and action will be taken against 250 more.

“We will start sealing as soon as we get police force,” said a senior civic body official, refusing to be identified.

“We may even start tomorrow,” he added, ominously.

The operators appeared to have been caught unawares.

“We are not aware of any such notice and we will take appropriate action when we see the notice,” said T R Dua of an association of GSM-based cellular operators.

The danger is real.

Last month, cell phone users in Noida had a harrowing time after the Noida Authority sealed 190 towers of the 576 towers for an indefinite period, saying claiming formalities for installation of these towers were not completed.

The towers were unsealed only after the Allahabad High Court intervened.