More troubles for telcos: Trai likely to make call drop benchmark rate more stringent

The Indian telecom regulator is mulling over making call drop benchmark rate more stringent, a move aimed at curbing the call drops menace in the country. In a bod to make call drop benchmark rate more severe, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is likely to start evaluating options.

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Media reports said regulator may soon issue a consultation paper to seek comments from to explore setting the call drop benchmark range from as low as 0.5 to 1.5 percent. The regulator is mulling over having the call drop rate measured per Base Transceiver Station (BTS) instead of the licensed service area.

The move, if implemented, will force Indian telecom operators to tackle network quality issues even more seriously. According to data shared by Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha in the Parliament, telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications attracted maximum consumer complaints about poor service and call drops in the last three years.

Telecom operators have blamed local authorities and residents association for obstructing installation of mobile towers which has led to increase in call drops. To overcome the challenges related to call drops, Indian telecom operators have allegedly started to use radio-link technology to mask call drops.

Sinha, who has taken over from Ravi Shankar Prasad as the new telecom minister, however, said that telecom operators would face action for using radio-link technology to mask call drops.

“Some of the service providers in these cities have high RLT values, which indicate that the call can be sustained even during poor quality for a longer time, resulting in the poor customer experience,” the telecom minister said in the Parliament.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India through agencies has conducted drive tests of mobile networks in 12 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. As per the recent drive test results in Mumbai, most telecom operators are not meeting the call drop rate benchmark except Airtel 2G and 3G and Vodafone 2G.

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