Teen mobile users blamed; COAI study to estimate losses

Our Bureau

New DelhiFeb.3Catching them young and offering special schemes to attract teenagers to use mobile phones could prove to be a cause of concern for cellular operators.

According to estimates made by the Cellular Operators' Association of India, youngsters communicate with each other using missed calls, which act as a code, and this is resulting in revenue losses to the operators.

"A missed call does not generate any revenue for the operator, at the same time it ends up using the network capacity of the cellular service provider.

"It also uses the radio waves and the backhaul and, therefore, a missed call hurts, especially if it is done during peak time when genuine callers may get a busy signal or a congested network," said Mr T.V. Ramachandran, Director-General, COAI.

The apex cellular body is conducting a study to estimate the lossoperators incur due to missed calls.

Feature of Indian usage

While COAI has said a missed call is a feature of Indian cellular usage and nothing can be done about it, some operators said tariff plans designed for attracting youngsters could be pulled out if it was found that the losses were considerable.

"There is no negative intention of conducting the study but we want to have an idea of the loss. Missed calls cannot be stopped," said Mr Ramachandran.

A study by Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economies (Lirne), said that over 50 per cent of India's 140 million mobile subscribers make missed calls to convey a pre-agreed message.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 4, 2007)
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