Union Communication and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Sunday that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been directed to penalise errant operators for call drops.
Reaffirming the government’s stand on the issue, the minister said, "The central government is very much serious on the call drop issue, right from the beginning. Inquiry is going on for the last five to six months on call drops. The telecom department is monitoring the situation across the entire country, and even BSNL is working to improve the situation. The TRAI has even been told to penalise the operator in case of call drop. The TRAI is working in this direction."
The government has been actively engaged in dialogue with the telecom service providers to seek out a solution to the call drops menace. The telecom minister expressed hope that the central government’s effort over the last few months will yield results soon. It is worth noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had “expressed serious concern over the issue of call drops and asked officials as to what steps are being taken to address this problem.” He had urged officials to explore the possibility of using state resources like the railways and other communication infrastructure to expand mobile telephony services.
Although the Government had pledged its full support to the telcos, it has been blamed for not doing enough. Mobile operators have claimed that the government has been dragging its feet on issuing clearances for new mobile tower sites. The Department of Telecom has however, indicated that poorly optimised networks are often to be blamed for call drops.
TRAI has started testing networks in Delhi NCR and Mumbai, ahead of a proposed meet with telcos in early October. TRAI will then publish a detailed roadmap of the steps that need to taken to reduce call drops and improve the quality of service. It is supposed to come up with the guidelines in mid-October. Earlier, suggestions by the regulator to compensate users for call drops met stiff opposition from the telcos. Public opinion, however, was in favour of such a move.