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Call drop issue: Govt mulls levying penalty on telcos

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad feels that there is lack of investment by operators to enhance their networks.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
August 26, 2015 7:51:38 pm
Ravi Shankar Prasad, call drops, national tower policy, government policy, telecom service providers, call drop issue, telecom operators, telecom service, mobile service, cellphone call drop, tech news, technology Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad feels that there is lack of investment by operators to enhance their networks.

As the call drop menace refuses to subside, government is now weighing the option of slapping penalty on telecom operators while individual letters would be shot off to their promoters to convey the concerns raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this problem.

A top official in the ministry said it will be conveyed to the owners that in case quality of service does not improve, option of levying penalty under licence conditions is not ruled out.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a meeting with DoT officials along with CMDs of two public sector firms, BSNL and MTNL, today to deliberate on the measures for reducing call drops.

In the meeting, Prasad asked Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg to convey the concerns of the Prime Minister on call drops to the owners of telecom firms, sources said. Prasad felt that there was lack of investment by operators to enhance their networks, sources added.

Telecom companies have sought 30-45 days time to improve and optimise networks to reduce call drops, sources said. Asked about the meeting, Prasad said, “I have held a meeting of top officials and they will deal with the operators on the issue of call drop. It is a serious issue and Prime Minister has also raised concerns over it.” Without sharing details of the meeting, Prasad said the government will do whatever is required, but the operators should also reinforce and optimise their networks.

DoT officials said there has been a rise in call drops in the last 5-7 months as operators have not yet optimised their spectrum after it was allocated following the auction in March. Also, operators are allocating more spectrum for data, which has grown at a fast pace in the last few months, leading to call drops.

Prasad yesterday said with call drops becoming a cause of concern for the entire country, mobile operators need to rise to the occasion and they cannot escape their “responsibility and accountability”. Telecom operators have cited shutting down of mobile towers as also lack of spectrum as major reasons for call drops.

They have said that about 7,000-10,000 sites have been locked or shut down across major cities and have sought a uniform national policy for installation of mobile towers. A recent TRAI report found that most of the telecom operators in Delhi and Mumbai were not meeting the prescribed standards regarding call drops.

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