A study conducted by RedMango Analytics has thrown new light into the ongoing call drop issue in India; the findings of the study reveals that 4% of all dropped calls occurred in localities with poor network coverage, while 59.1% of dropped calls occurred due to poor quality network and, 36.9% of all the dropped calls were due to network faults. The report can be downloaded from here.
The study, conducted in 20 cities, further states that the call drop rates in India supersede globally accepted standard of 3%. The country at present is experiencing a call drop rate of 4.73%–the current rate is also higher than the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI’s) standard of 2%.
Cheap smartphones causing call drops?
However, after measuring the voice experience of handsets across multiple networks and cities, it was found that one of the major reason contributing to the call drops is low range smartphones. The report claims that:
-Low-Range Smartphones priced up to Rs 20,000 experienced up to 67% more call drops
-Mid-Range Smartphones priced between Rs 21,000 – Rs 30,000 had a call drop rate of 22%
-High Range Smart Phones worth Rs 30,000 and above had the lowest call drop rate
Furthermore, the study further states three other reasons impacting the call drop scenario:
-Poor connectivity: The report suggests that a call may drop when the phone or tower does not receive the radio signal with enough strength to hold the call.
-Poor quality: Sometimes call drops happen due to multiple interference in the connection between the phone and the tower.
-Network Failures: A call may also drop due to various network issues such as congestion or a failed Hhandover between two towers.
Call drops below permissible limits: Pune seems to have had the worst telecom quality, according to a TRAI analysis. The Blocked Call Rate as of December 2015 for Tata(3G) was recorded at a whopping 36.73%; Airtel (3G) at 17.01%; Idea at 15.90%; Vodafone(3G) at 10.76%. The permissible limit is set at just less than 3% by the TRAI.
While the Dropped Call Rate for Pune during December 2015 for Tata (3G) was recorded at an alarming 42.93%; Idea (3G) at 20.96%; BSNL (3G) at 11.64%; Airtel (3G) at 7.91%. The permissible Dropped Call Rate is set at just less than or equal to 2% by the TRAI.
Tussle between TRAI and Telcos: On Februaury 29. The Delhi HC upheld an order passed by TRAI, which stated that all telecom operators would have to pay Re 1 to compensate consumers in case of call drops. Following the Delhi HC ruling, TRAI specified March 7 as the deadline to submit to submit a compliance report regarding compensation for consumers facing call drops.
Note that the regulation to compensate users was originally set to be effective from January 2016; telco operators opposed the decision and went on to file a case with the Delhi HC along with support from industry associations, Auspi and COAI, challenging the order and calling for a stay on the decision.
Later, after a the Supreme Court rejected telco associations’ interim stay request regarding the March 7 deadline, Auspi and COAI wrote to TRAI stating not to implement its order of compensating consumers for call drops until the SC provides clarifications/orders on March 10.