The government will set up a platform for consumers to provide direct feedback on call drops in the next one month, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said. Sinha also warned operators that his Ministry will not hesitate on slapping penalty and other actions in case consumers continue to face the menace of call drops and call failures. The issue has intensified in recent times following the interconnectivity dispute between incumbent operators and newcomer Reliance Jio. Speaking after his meeting with the heads of telecom operators, Sinha expressed satisfaction at the progress made by companies in installing base stations for improving connectivity.
“TRAI reports indicate that the call drop situation has improved… I have said to the industry that TRAI measurement is circle-wise. (But) sometimes, there are black spots where call drops happen. This is not covered under that report,” he said.
Stating that this was also discussed at the meeting, Sinha said, “Telecom Ministry is considering making a platform that will take direct feedback from people on call drops… we will quickly build that platform”.
Earlier this year, telcos had submitted a 100-day action plan on strategy to address call drop issue. They had committed to setting up of 60,000 base stations within 100 days, and one lakh base stations over one year. “Till consumers say that they are free of call drops, I won’t accept it… The platform would be ready in the next one month and that would be the right parameter to gauge the call drop situation,” he said.
He added that the ministry will not hesitate to take action — of penalty and beyond — if there was a need for the same. Sinha said the operators have gone beyond the targeted 60,000 BTS’ with 61,000 base stations being set up. This, however, does not include Reliance Jio’s numbers.
“Operators have got 965 MHz spectrum. They have taken what was required and they have been directed to roll out at the earliest now,” Sinha said adding that the government hopes to assign spectrum to successful bidders by November 19.
On the issue of interconnection between Reliance Jio and incumbent operators, where TRAI has suggested a penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on existing players, the Minister said, “the recommendations are there… in our purview, if we have given a licence to someone, they should also give service, we will ensure this.” “In the regulatory framework, mutual consultations pave way for solutions, I feel that path will be found,” he added.