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TRAI consultation paper: Do call drops make telcos money?

call drops

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will be coming out with a consultation paper on call drops to examine whether telecom operators are making money by making a phone call drop midway, reports ET. TRAI will also look into the tariff plans of telcos to see whether call drops incentivise or benefit the operators.

The government said that telcos not investing in networks is leading to call drops and that they could not escape the responsibility of meeting standards, which was their basic obligation. After telcos gave the excuse of radiation problems and scarcity of spectrum for call drops, Union minister for telecom Ravi Shankar Prasad said in June that cellular towers did not pose a threat to residents nearby due to lack of evidence and therefore telcos could not use that as an excuse for not installing new towers.

A month ago, TRAI had asked all telecom operators to submit a report on the action they were gonna take to deal with call drops by 31 July. TRAI’s letter to the telecom companies stated that it was necessary for service providers to ‘undertake a special drive for radio frequency optimisation, analyse the reason of call drops and take appropriate steps’. The TRAI benchmark allows a call drop rate of less than 2%.

Earlier in June, the Department of Telecom had suggested to TRAI that telecom operators could provide free minutes in talk time to consumers whose calls drop. The DoT also said that it had asked TRAI to build a ‘disincentive’ mechanism in order to reduce the number of call drops that consumers faced. In case telcos did not adhere to TRAI’s service quality benchmark, levy them with a penalty, the department added.

Earlier this month, Airtel said that it was in preliminary talks with state-run telco BSNL for sharing spectrum through intra circle roaming arrangements. Other operators, including Vodafone and Idea Cellular were also expected to line up to get a deal with the PSU.

Two weeks ago, BSNL got a nod from the union cabinet to hive off its tower assets to form a separate company. The towers company was valued at Rs 20,000 crore and BSNL would need to pay the new company money to rent the towers. BSNL currently claims to have 75,000 towers, out of which around 65,000 will be moved to the new company.

Image Credit: Flickr user Fe Ilya

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