A Parliamentary panel met cellular operators’ association COAI and newcomer Reliance Jio over the issue of call drops and call failures, and asked about measures taken by the operators to improve quality of telephony services in the country.
Members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology interacted with Reliance Jio and COAI separately, and asked about reasons for call drops and call failures due to congestion at points of interconnect, given that these are customer-centric issues.
While COAI and Reliance Jio refused to divulge details of the meetings, both are understood to have made individual presentations to the panel, headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur. According to sources, the members of the panel also asked both the parties about measures being initiated by telecom operators over the last few months to improve the call drop situation.
They also sought to know the service quality challenges arising out of free calls being offered by the new entrant, and how these issues are being mitigated.
Sources said that the Committee will also call other operators for a holistic view on the call drop and service quality issue, before coming out with its recommendations. Earlier this week, COAI urged the Standing Committee on IT to also hear out the incumbent operators including Airtel, Idea and Vodafone for a fairer assessment of the situation.
The association had said that many of the issues fall within the ambit of bilateral commercial agreement and are best explained by individual licencees. According to sources, top officials of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, including Chairman RS Sharma, and senior officials from Telecom Department were also present at today’s meetings.
Reliance Jio — also a member of COAI — has accused incumbent operators of not providing it sufficient point of interconnect leading to call failures, while the operators have blamed free calls offered by the newcomer for tsunami of network traffic.
Following a tussle between Jio and incumbent operators on points of interconnect, the telecom regulator recently recommended a penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on the operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — holding them responsible for congestion on the newcomer’s network leading to call drops.