Call drops: Trai asks telcos to focus more on 2G networks

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), in a technical paper analysing the call drops phenomenon, urged the Indian telcos to add towers on a war footing and bolster existing 2G networks and not merely focus on 3G to improve overall mobile coverage.

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The regulator said there is also an urgent need to address challenges posed by the arbitrary sealing of mobile towers by municipal authorities in urban areas. It asked telcos to deploy signal boosters at user premises to check the call drop menace.

Further, Trai suggested a number of measures at the operator-end to reduce call drops, including dynamic channel allocation, multiple call routing and optimised resource management. The regulator said that there’s a need to increase the number of towers to cater to demands of a growing subscriber base since mobile towers do not have unlimited capacity to handle current network load.

A call drop has been defined as “a voice call, which after being successfully established, is interrupted prior to its normal completion (and) the cause of early termination is within the network of the service provider.” “This problem (call drops) is particularly evident in urban areas. Moreover, with the increase in the usage of 3G networks, the growth rate of mobile towers supporting 2G networks has reduced. This must be addressed,” the paper said.

Last month, the sectoral regulator mandated that telecom companies from January 1 should compensate users at the rate of Re 1 per dropped call, with a ceiling of three dropped calls per day (or, Rs 3 per day).

India telcos however cried foul saying the new rules can cost them nearly Rs 150 crore a day. They also blamed the limited availability of spectrum for call drops in the country.

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently reiterated that penalty for call drops announced by the country’s telecom regulator, Trai, will be implemented as per schedule. He said that customer interest is more important for the government. “There is no question of going back on the proposal to penalise telecom companies for call drops,” he said.

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