Understanding the dilemma of the people about important calls being dropped and paying extra in phone bills because of these dropped calls, the government wants the telecom operators to improve the situation and bring the standard up to a level that consumers acknowledge as acceptable.
A call drop is when your call gets automatically disconnected in the middle of a conversation.
Call drops have doubled in the last one year, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and that’s four times higher than the permissible limit.
Talking about the issue, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently spoke to newspaper Economic Times and said that there has been an improvement in the call drops situation based on their internal checks.
“DoT (Department of Telecommunications) is meeting the industry each week and a proper report is taken. We have found that about 35,000 towers were defective of which 15,000 have been rectified by telcos. The report shows improvement, but I would like verification from consumers. There must be consumer satisfaction.”
Prasad added that the government is doing its bit and allowing spectrum trading, sharing and educating people to ease concerns around telecom tower radiation and had even allowed towers to be set up on government buildings and post offices.
They were even looking to ease up on spectrum caps if needed but wanted the carriers to stop complaining about lack of spectrum, which they used as an excuse for call drops and come up with a solution.
He further added:
“There is a strong view in the government that operators need to properly utilise the spectrum they have won in the last auctions before they ask for more. Government is always open to selling more spectrum in any case. Operators should spend more on 2G and improve voice as a large parts of India still need 2G.”
There as been a constant pressure on Telecommunication industry from the central government, with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley coming down hard on mobile operators for abysmal standard of telecommunication and the high amount of dropped call rates.
They have also backed the DoT’s call for punitive measures against erring telecom companies.
While DoT has cleared its stand on the situation, telecom companies resorted back stating that adding the receipts from a trading deal to adjusted gross revenue will amount to double taxation for them as the buyer of spectrum will anyway pay these subsequently. To this Prasad said:
“Some operators will be happiest if I don’t charge them a fee and give them spectrum free of cost. There is no substance in the double taxation argument of the telecom operators (on spectrum trading). I am awaiting their report. I have asked them to expedite it. A concern has been raised … if need be, we will revise the spectrum caps,”