Telecom major Vodafone on Thursday pledged to significantly improve the call drops situation in the national capital within 3-4 months. It has installed over 500 mobile sites in Delhi-NCR in the last six months. The operator plans to add more, besides increasing the capacity of 550 existing sites.
Vodafone Business Head (Delhi) Apoorva Mehrotra told PTI that customers can expect fewer call drops and improved voice quality within the next 12-16 weeks. "We are rolling out more sites, wherever we identify gaps and our capacity needs to be augmented. We regularly do drive tests to see and identify pockets where we have issues," he said. It has a subscriber base of 98 lakhs in Delhi NCR with a total of 12,322 sites. According to Mehrotra, Vodafone has spent Rs. 350 crores on upgrading the existing voice and data networks in the capital. The DoT’s directive to the administrative bodies in Delhi to allow the operation of mobile towers should aid the operator’s efforts.
Late last month, regulator TRAI had started testing networks in Delhi and Mumbai before meeting operators for discussions. It had observed that major operators had failed to meet the desired quality of service benchmarks in both the cities. In fact, Vodafone’s network in Delhi was found to have further deteriorated. Although, other operators were found to have improved their networks. "In Delhi, most of the operators have improved their quality though only one operator was able to meet the benchmark," TRAI said. Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the call drops situation has started to improve. TRAI had initially held a meeting with telecom operators on September 9, who were given 15 days to improve their networks.
The regulator last week released guidelines for a compensatory scheme for call drops. Under the regulations, operators will be liable to pay Re. 1 for every dropped call to customers. However, it has been capped to a maximum of three calls per day. Provisions have also been drawn up to penalise telcos for not complying with the desired quality of service benchmarks. Operators are expected to keep the proportion of dropped calls to less than 2 percent in a telecom circle. The compensation policy is scheduled to kick-in from 1st January, 2016.