Mobiles & Tablets

Telcos spent ₹34,677 crore in 2017 to prevent call drop: COAI

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 16, 2018

Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI   -  Mohammed_Yousuf The Hindu

Telecom operators in India have added 3,46,778 mobile towers at an investment of around ₹34,677 crore between January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018 in an effort to improve call drops, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said on Friday.

The industry body said the operators have done their best to improve call quality despite the financial crunch faced by them after the September 2016 entry of Reliance Jio.

“The new TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) rules on call drops are very stringent and the implementation of the new rules will require major changes in existing systems and processes and alignment with concerned stakeholders/vendors,” Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, told reporters here.

He further said the implementation of the revised measurement methodology will also require the building of new systems and software development, and hence COAI had sought more time from TRAI.

“However, the same was not granted by TRAI. We will continue to work with the Authority on this issue and we remain committed to delivering the best possible services to our consumers. We hold our view that penalty or financial disincentive should not be there,” he said.

The call drop rate is well within the prescribed limits as prescribed by TRAI, he said. “However, operators’ efforts to create additional capacity to meet growing demand have hit roadblocks due to the non-availability of sufficient spectrum, sealing/shutdown of existing sites and inability to acquire new sites in many areas,” Mathews said.

Right of way issues

Several hurdles remain in getting right of way (RoW) in local areas, even though there has been a clear mandate from the Centre, Mathews said. The local authorities have their own rules and operators can’t get any help to lay their cables or erect towers because of that, he explained.

This apart, there is continued site optimisations with deployment of new networks and technologies and there is also positive collaboration with TRAI on drive test methodology and publication of results.

Meanwhile, last month, telcos including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio committed to invest over ₹74,000 crore to upgrade and expand their infrastructure to address the issue of call drops this fiscal.

Published on February 16, 2018

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