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You have enough spectrum, address call drops: Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to telcos

Prasad said he has asked TRAI to suggest a disincentive mechanism to tackle the problem, though he refused to share if it will be a financial disincentive.
Prasad said he has asked TRAI to suggest a disincentive mechanism to tackle the problem, though he refused to share if it will be a financial disincentive.
NEW DELHI: Doing some plain speaking on call drops, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today asked mobile operators to walk the extra mile to reinforce their systems as they have enough spectrum to provide telephony services without interruption.

The minister said he has asked sectoral regulator TRAI to suggest a disincentive mechanism to tackle the problem, though he refused to share if it will be a financial disincentive.

"The point is, as of now, let me tell you as a minister that I would like all the telecom operators to reinforce their system, to avoid call drops, to properly run their operations. Once we are willing to walk the extra mile, they also walk the extra mile," Prasad said in an interview to PTI.

Government put the highest amount of spectrum to auction in March, some of which remained unsold, he said, adding that therefore the argument given by operators that not enough spectrum is available with them does not hold substance.

"...this argument I don't appreciate, enough spectrum is available, what is important for them is to reinforce...call drop issue needs to be addressed by the operators, whether BSNL or private ones because consumers want no call drops. Now I would appreciate if telecom operators earnestly addressed this problem," he said.

The government is willing to walk the extra mile to address the concerns of the telecom sector but in turn, the industry should also improve its services and avoid problems like call drops, he said.

The minister said that to revise merger and acquisition (M&A) guidelines for the sector, the Department of Telecom is meeting stakeholders and a final call will be taken once the recommendations are finalised.

"A committee headed by Telecom Secretary is working on it. They have had a lot of meetings with stakeholders. Let them finalise their whole recommendations then we will take a call. Time is not the factor at all, if there is need for immediate pushing, surely we will do it. I shall be very frank with you," Prasad said.

The minister also put his weight behind the industry's concern over installation of mobile towers by saying that call drop allegations and campaign against tower installation can't go hand in hand.

"I have already spoken publicly about this campaign on the tower issue and I want to repeat that there is no tangible evidence of any harmful effect. Therefore, call drop allegations and campaign against tower installation can not go hand in hand," he said. PTI KIR ANZ SID SA STS 06141201 NNNN

Telecom operators have for long been demanding changes in the M&A rules, terming them difficult. Vodafone had earlier said that companies should be allowed to buy assets of a particular firm such as spectrum, and not the entire firm which has a lot of debt on its books.

Sectoral regulator TRAI had also said M&A rules need to be reworked for an pick-up in consolidation activity.

The Telecom Commission, highest decision making body of DoT, has already finalised its views on spectrum sharing and trading guidelines and it will be sent to Cabinet by the end of this month.

Once trading is allowed, it is expected to increase efficient use of radiowaves by enabling telecom operators, who have a lower subscriber base or un-utilised spectrum, to trade in it.

On the auction of 3G spectrum, Prasad said the moment the radiowaves in this band are released, process for auction will be expedited.

"The moment it comes, it will be expedited and obliviously as I said the March auction was not the last auction of this government," he said.

Asked if it will be auctioned this fiscal, he said: "Let me have a look at it, if need be it will be expedited, why not."

The Cabinet in January had approved swapping of 15 MHz of 3G spectrum in 17 circles between the Defence Ministry and the Telecom Ministry. The spectrum would by available for commercial use after completion of the harmonisation process.
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Sujatha (mumbai)

1 Day ago

The Nikama government has not a single efficient person. One year India has made a very successful journey to hell with the able leadership of BJP's Sab Janta.

hemkant beedkar (Bharat)

1 Day ago
Silver: 408
408 Points

These companies acts in such a way, that it shows that they are doing a favor to customers by providing the service. What the public pays is just not of any importance to the companies,and they must suppose that they are served free so do not complain.

Vedantham Sheshashar (Bangalore)

12 Followers
1 Day ago

TRAI has already warned the telecom companies. These 'call drops' have become serious problem. TRAI should putup suitable procedure for consumers to air their grievances and claim damages from telecom companies. Telecom companies are taking consumers for a ride and cheating. They are not taking steps to redress the grievances.

narendra (delhi)

1 Day ago

Mr. Minister just asking the telecom operator's to arrest call drops will not be enough. They have been fooling the subscribers since last so many years. They have got used easy money and making false claims as they either manage data or the regulator. Take the case of MTNL's network in Delhi , after so many years of operations in Delhi ..the call drop is here even on major public places and major roads , metro lines of the city. For making one conversation complete , the numbers of calls are made to or from MTNL's network. The regulator should have third party based checks , reports about the signal strength , call drops in the network. Mr Minister the kind of unethical operators we have in the country will not respond to such calls from you...they are a different breed and needs a different treatment , can you go in that direction for the sake of hapless subscribers of this country whose telecom minister you are... let us see, it is only time will tell...

Arvind ()

1 Day ago

Telecom companies screwing the govt for forcing them to pay heavy fees in Auctions.. People to pay extra for being fooled by BJP on 2 G scam

Ravie (192.168.23.10)

1 Day ago

they are looting

niraj (59.183.14.0)

1 Day ago

telcos will raise rates before addressing call drop rates citing profitability issues

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