A parliamentary panel may recommend a new permissible limit for call drops and penalty on service providers for any violation.
The parliamentary standing committee on information technology, headed by BJP’s Anurag Thakur, met with three leading telecom operators — Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — to discuss the problems of call drops and to seek their views on net neutrality.
Thakur also proposed to call Facebook, Google, net neutrality-crusader Nikhil Pahwa and consumer forums for their views on net-neutrality.
Telecom regulator Trai has set up to 2% calls as the permissible limit for call drops. But it does not recommend any compensation for consumers. The panel, however, has decided to review the rate and may recommend a lower threshold for call drops in the wake of several complaints to disconnection in the middle of telephonic conversations.
During the meeting, some operators tried to shift onus on handsets, lack of spectrum and unavailability of space to put up more mobile towers. Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, at a press conference, said, “If people complained about the ill-effect of mobile towers and demand pulling them down, then they should not be complaining about call drops as both do not go hand-in-hand.”
In the standing committee meeting, however, the telecom operators faced intense grilling by MPs like Rajeev Chandrasekhar who asked them to define net neutrality. According to sources, Airtel’s deposition on the issue was “very different” from other operators.
As one operator tried to highlight the need for “return on investments”, the panel members said it was not a public concern.