Call drops: telcos show numbers to counter irate users
“My mother was seriously ill and I was trying to contact our doctor. But I could not contact him for nearly half-an-hour. When I was finally able to contact him, calls dropped so frequently that I could not talk to him,” said Manoj Verma, a physical education teacher in a Delhi school.india Updated: Aug 12, 2009 22:57 IST
“My mother was seriously ill and I was trying to contact our doctor. But I could not contact him for nearly half-an-hour. When I was finally able to contact him, calls dropped so frequently that I could not talk to him,” said Manoj Verma, a physical education teacher in a Delhi school.
Verma is not alone. In a recent survey conducted by HT C-Fore, 64 per cent of those surveyed in Delhi said that they had experienced at least one call drop in 10 calls; 5 per cent said they suffered up to 50 per cent call drops.
“The worst part is that you suffer because of no fault of yours,” said Girish Dabral, a manager in a Delhi-based firm. “My meeting in Okhla was postponed at the last moment. But I could not be contacted until I had reached Dhaula Kuan about 10 km from my office in Janak Puri, thanks to poor telephone network,” said Dabral.
Mumbai is worse. Up to 69 per cent people responding to a recent HT C-Fore survey said that they had experienced one call drop out of 10 calls. “In South Mumbai where I have to go for business, getting a call has become a luxury,” said Madhusudan Sharma, a businessman based in Andheri.
“The telecom networks were initially designed to cater to a certain number of subscribers,” said KN Gupta, former executive director of Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT). “Operators are adding a record number of subscribers every month. They need to upgrade their networks and invest on infrastructure. However, this is not happening.”
Cellular operators disagree.
“The main issue is scarcity of spectrum,” said TV Ramachandran, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India. “If the spectrum is scarce, operators have to install more towers. This reduces the distance between two towers and as a result there is interference in frequency.”
In some places in Delhi such as Connaught Place, the distance between two towers is 100 meters, while in Hong Kong that is more densely populated, the distance is 400 meters,” said Ramachandran. “We are finalising a new spectrum policy,” said Siddhartha Behura, secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT). “There is a large number of cellular operators in India. This also adds to the problem.”
A Vodafone Essar spokesperson said, “Our ‘call drop’ rates have actually reduced and are currently below 1 per cent in both Mumbai and Delhi, which is well below the prescribed regulatory benchmark.”
An Airtel spokesperson said, “Our overall ‘call drop’ rate in Delhi and Mumbai is below 1 per cent which is comparable to international standards.”