Once again laying emphasis on the issue of Quality of Service norms and call drops, the officials from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will meet with representatives of the telecom operators to discuss the potential solutions this month. On Friday, Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan announced in an industry event that the DoT would get in touch with the telcos and would work together with them to come with a likely solution for the problems of call drop and quality of service. She also pointed out that issues like ‘Fibre first’ and digital readiness will also be taken up in these meetings with the telcos.
Regulator Ensures Following of QoS Norms
As per a PTI report, this is not the first time that the government had to intervene to ensure a quality check on telecom operators for call drops and to ensure adherence to QoS norms. In September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also taken a detailed review of the telcos’ grievances and had directed the department to look for technological solutions to solve the issues being encountered and with the backdrop of rising consumer complaints.
As per Sundararajan’s statement back then, the surging data usage and lack of investment in 2G had resulted in a crippled quality of service. Last year in August, telecom minister Manoj Sinha had also called a meeting of top telecom executives where all the parties discussed the norms of quality of service. This meeting was followed by another meeting in January this year, where the chief executives of all the telecom operators were called to again stress on the government’s growing concerns about breaching of QoS norms and call drop issues.
Trai Switches to Better Method of Measuring Call Drops
To recall, in August last year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had introduced much more stringent norms for the telecom operators regarding call drop issues and Quality of Service. For operators breaching these norms, Trai had set up a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakhs if any telco fails to abide by the rules for a quarter. For a company, which breaches the norms for two consecutive quarters, the penalty can be up to Rs 10 lakh. This step was taken by Trai to ensure that telcos adhere to the set benchmark.
Further, the telecom watchdog had also shifted its method of measuring dropped call rate from telecom circle level to mobile tower level. This has been done to avoid the discrepancies being seen by the averaging of call drop rates of bad performing cells with those of the good performing cells in the circle. However, the industry remains of the opinion that maintaining the quality of service is out of bounds for the telcos since it depends on a lot of external factors like the number of subscribers using the network at a particular time and the kind of device being used by them.