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Call drops: I don’t understand self-regulation, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

The minister said even as he supported growth of the telecom sector, quality of services was key as the government wants to ensure its services reach citizens through their mobile phones.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: May 21, 2016 3:00:31 am
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Almost a week after Bharti Airtel’s announcement to adopt self-regulation for addressing instances of call drops, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday came down heavily on operators to improve the quality of services.

“I don’t understand self-regulation on call drops,” Prasad told an industry event. “The telecom operators should provide good service and quality service to the people. I only want people to be satisfied.” The minister said even as he supported growth of the telecom sector, quality of services was key as the government wants to ensure its services reach citizens through their mobile phones.

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The telecom minister’s comments assume significance after Bharti Airtel last week said it would adopt self-regulation for instances of call drops by benchmarking its quality of service at 1.5 per cent — much below the regulator’s 2per cent benchmark — and would pay the difference, subject to a maximum of R100 crore towards educating underprivileged children.

That announcement followed days after the Supreme Court decided in favour of telecom operators on compensating consumers for instances of call drops. Earlier while speaking at the same event, Akhil Gupta, vice chairman of Bharti Enterprises, the parent of Bharti Airtel, said the industry was for self-regulation to address issues of call drops as the companies lose revenue for every dropped call since the billing is on a per-second basis. “We are all on the same side on the fundamental ways of addressing bad quality of service. Actually, it affects operators the most,” Gupta said. FE

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