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Telecom Minister: Call drops are due to fear of cell tower radiation

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has said that people who object to the installation of mobile towers due to a fear of radiation, are responsible for call drops, reports the PTI. The minister said that despite organizing seminars and spreading awareness about how EMF (Electric and magnetic fields) radiation causes no health issues, ‘some people are involved in proving this notion wrong.’

Sinha said that there are ‘some people’ who want good mobile connectivity but are against the idea of setting up mobile towers and BTS (base tower stations), which are essential to improve mobile networks. Consequently, Sinha said that a ‘technical solution’ is needed  to manage the problem of call dropping. The minister, however, failed to describe what this technical solutions could be and requested people ‘to seriously think about technical solution’ for call drops.

In this context, it may be worth reading TRAI’s only blog post, which argues against the idea of cell tower radiation causing cancer or other diseases.

Enough improvement but striving for an ideal situation

Sinha, citing TRAI’s quarterly reports, said that there had been enough improvement in mobile connectivity over the last few months. He attributed the improvement to the provisions made by telecom authorities to resolve issues in areas where there are frequent complaints of call drops. He claimed that authorities had spoken to about 1.25 crore people on IVRS (interactive voice response system) regarding call drops and resolved their issues.

The minister said that he is only worried about the network issues because the government strives for an ideal situation. This comes days after reports said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged the issue of call drops in a meeting with Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan and asked for immediate action.

The Prime Minister also reportedly questioned the telecom secretary about the amount of fine imposed on telcos for call drops. Sundararajan is said to have informed the PM that not only did the Supreme Court strike down TRAI’s directive to impose a fine of Rs 1 for every call drop, but also conveyed that all operators were together in their stand against this directive. Incidentally, the PM also said that the issues related to the telecom sector should be based on latest technological solutions.

In October 2017, TRAI came up with new regulations which mandates operators to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh if they fail to meet the telecom regulators call drop benchmark.

Three primary reasons for call drops: Aruna Sundararajan

Earlier this week, the telecom secretary highlighted three primary reasons for incessant call drops and poor mobile network across the country

  • The growth in usage of mobile data and voice not corresponding with the growth in the telecom infrastructure.
  • Telecom operators’ lack of investments on 2G towers, which is predominantly a voice spectrum, as they invest heavily in 4G networks.
  • Harmonisation of telecom spectrum because of the recent mergers and consolation of telcos. She said this would take another six months to complete. According to ET, harmonisation refers to the process of making blocks of spectrum contiguous in order to increase the spectral efficiency.

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