Mobile call drops have become so severe that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has written to CEOs of cellular operators asking what measures the companies are taking to prevent them.
In its letter, TRAI has asked CEOs “to provide to the Authority by 28th February, 2009 the measures taken to improve voice quality and drastic reduction in call drop rates”.
A Hindustan Times-C Fore survey, published on January 21, of users across India reveals that more than three of five users face call drops one or two times out of 10.
“We are also conducting studies to verify the magnitude of problem,” TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra told Hindustan Times. He said TRAI has been receiving a large number of representations from consumers about the increasing number of call drops.
Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli confirmed receiving the TRAI letter. “Yes, we have received the letter. We are finalising our reply.”
The Indian telecom market is the fastest growing market in the world with more than 10 million new subscribers added in January. But the quality of services is poor.
In its letter, TRAI has pointed out that call drops not only inconvenience consumers but also cause monetary loss.
Telecom companies charge subscribers in units called ‘pulse rate’, which is the minimum time period for which a call is charged.
If the pulse rate in a tariff plan is 60 seconds, subscribers are charged for a minimum 60 seconds even if the call drops after 3 seconds.
However, the TRAI does not intend to reduce pulse rate. “There is no immediate plan to reduce pulse rate to one second,” Misra said.