Operators to set up 60,000 telecom towers to curb call drops


Giving up to the pressure from the government on call drops, telecom companies on Friday promised to install 60,000 new towers at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore within three months  to improve the quality of their services.

“The industry has realised that the negative customer sentiment is too high. So investments will not be constrained,” said telecom secretary J.S. Deepak  after a meeting with the top executive of the telecom companies.

The DoT (department of telecom) has asked telcos to submit a 60-90 days plan to resolve call drops issue. “If the industry buys all the spectrum that offered in the upcoming auction, then there will be no shortage of spectrum even for providing international quality of service,” Mr Deepak said.

During the meeting, every telecom company presented its 100-day plan for improving service quality and raised issues hampering improvement in the networks.

Operators also raised issues such as regulatory hurdles by local authorities and opposition by residents associations to installation of mobile towers. The secretary said that the government will work with operators to facilitate installation of mobile towers.

Call drops have been a major issue for over a year now after Prime minister Narendra Modi personally expressed “serious concern” over the qu-ality of mobile services.

While telecom companies have been claiming that they have improved the quality of their services, latest test drive by Trai in Delhi and Hyderabad released in June revealed that most of them have failed to meet the benchmark on call drops.

With the Supreme Court struck down its order imposing fine for call drops, Trai asked the government give it penal powers. The secretary, however, said penal powers cannot be “one and final solution” for call drop and the government will “take a view” on Trai’s demand for more powers. But in his opinion, he said a person cannot be sent to jail “for every call drop”.

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