A Basic Overview Of Why Call Drops Happen & How Telcos Can Solve Them

The Indian Telecom Regulator, TRAI, recently instructed the service providers to compensate customer for each call drop with Re. 1 with maximum compensation of Rs. 3 every day.


The issue of call drops is no small matter and in fact, has opened up a Pandora’s box. There has been a lot of mudslinging in the last few days between the government and the service providers, with both parties blaming the other for the call drops. While the telcos say that the crackdown on towers is leading to an increase in call drops, the Government believes that telcos are not spending enough on network upgradation.

As of now, Telenor is the only telco, which is offering compensation to subscribers for call drops. Most of the telcos have deployed Call Detail Record (CDR), which informs them whenever a call is dropped. In Telenor’s case, the compensation is in the form of extra talk-time since they have only prepaid operations.

Compensating the subscribers is a poor way to solve the problem. It seems to be a stopgap arrangement to appease the consumer on one end and to prevent churn for the telco. It will not be a big gain for the consumer if the problem continues to persist. For the telcos it might turn out to be a financial strain even as they struggle to offer decent quality of services to their subscribers.

The Whys Of Call Drops?

There can be many reasons for a call to drop. Spectrum crunch, congestion, and capacity crunch are some of the reasons for an increasing number of call drops in India. Today, the call dropped ratio in India stands at 12 percent, which is nearly four-times the permissible level of 3 percent, as per a report recently released by TRAI.

However, the biggest reason is that there has been a drastic change in the way we use our mobile devices now. The networks were built primarily for voice, but today’s device usage is application centric, which means that the networks have to evolve to resolve the problem. Narrower pipes for data means that other operations, like voice, are also affected.

Crackdown on towers also leads to insufficient radio, resulting in termination of calls. Radiation curbs is making it difficult for telcos to deploy new towers thus hindering growth.


The telcos can take technological and other steps to resolve the problem. The most obvious solution is spectrum trading and sharing. With the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issuing guidelines for spectrum sharing and trading, the ball is now in telco’s court to make full use of this opportunity. There are likely to be a number of deals in this arena in the coming few months with incumbents entering into arrangements with various smaller players to resolve the spectrum crunch.

Also read: Call Drops: The Reasons and Possible Solutions to ensure #NoCallDrops

On the technology front, the service providers would need to optimise the networks to enable them to handle the data tsunami. “The service providers should consider investing in technologies like Self Organising Network (SON) for automation of planning, configuration, management and optimisation of mobile radio access networks,” says Nandan. The telcos would also need to include small cells and boosters to enhance in-building coverage.

Though the telcos are upgrading the network, this exercise is unable to keep up with the speed with which data usage is increasing. “The telcos need to revamp the radio network and optimise the network so they are better equipped to handle the ever-increasing data demand and changes in traffic pattern,” explains Nandan.

In the end, the telcos have to take a holistic view of the problem. The incumbents have largely been taking their customers for granted. However, with Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and new Greenfield operators ready to launch networks, the time is now right to invest in networks and give the consumers what they deserve.

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16 Comments on "A Basic Overview Of Why Call Drops Happen & How Telcos Can Solve Them"


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October 24, 2015 10:48 pm 10:48 PM
airtel is do anything wrong always , but others keep doing rightly first they watched it . ex – Snapdeal is good job than Flipkart . just mail to snodeal they will call u discussion . They give assurance to solve issue until u happy evertime . For Amazon they are the fasted in delivery like they deliver product by paying extra for 1 day delivery .. they delivers product in max in 2 days . Incredible amazon . so Amazon rocks .. better than 2 times Flipkart at lesser price of product . so service is most important always… Read more »
October 25, 2015 9:36 am 9:36 AM
Heck. Its all about pathetic services and false assurance from customer care, if you are using Airtel. The worst part of this worst operator is call drops and apart from this there is no surity of network coverage at some spots in the city where only aircel and reliance steals the show. Its very surprising to know that aircel and reliance have presence in the localities where airtel can’t provide up to the mark. Everyone knows the pathetic network conditions of reliance and aircel and I agree to it, still they drags Airtel out of the radio at various places… Read more »
October 25, 2015 7:13 am 7:13 AM

Rest in peace english. _/\_

Madhan Kumar
October 25, 2015 11:29 am 11:29 AM

@Sujit: Idea88’s comment is understandable only,I knw that if he would hav appreciated FraudTel & Flipkart u wouldn’t have said this?????

October 24, 2015 5:41 pm 5:41 PM

Today call was was dropped on my Telenor no in morning, in evening they have credited 1 min of std call valid for two days ie 24, 25 oct and not in the form of extra talk-time .

October 25, 2015 3:04 am 3:04 AM

Compare telcos with telcos.

October 24, 2015 5:32 pm 5:32 PM
@Gagandeep Kaur I believe the solutions is very simple. The incumbents (AirTel, Voda, !dea, DoCoMo, RCom, Telenor, Aircel), all GSM operators can pool their money & deploy Network Boosters, which will increase the coverage, in cheaper way. All I know is these kind of products are available in Bangalore & New Delhi. These Network Boosters are extending the coverage in rural areas efficiently. The biggest advantage is these Network Boosters can amplify every network on a single band. For e.g. if there is no coverage of 1800 MHz in somewhere, these boosters will amplify all the GSM networks present on… Read more »
October 26, 2015 10:51 am 10:51 AM

@Joy yes that is true. These boosters are being used to enhance the coverage but it is certainly not enough. Also, as far as I know these boosters are being used for in-building data access and not so much for voice networks…

Sanjit Roy
October 24, 2015 7:37 pm 7:37 PM

@Joy- For your kind info these mobile signal boosters are much much cheaper in China, basically those people and companies are selling these boosters in India are actually they are like dalals. OEM of these boosters are belong to China and in China it is very very cheap starting from 20$, now if our government gives permission to these oem to sell their repeat box/boosters directly to the consumers then it will be cheaper as well as easier to purchase for every individual customers. It’s sad that these dalals are cheating us and we can’t do anything.

October 25, 2015 5:45 pm 5:45 PM

@ Sanjit Roy +1. Many of people living in countryside had deployed these kind of signal boosters & getting benefited with this arrangement. If prices fall as you suggested, definitely everyone will buy & can become a necessary part for everyone.

Sanjit Roy
October 25, 2015 8:27 pm 8:27 PM

@Joy- As per the make in India program I think government should ask those oem to set up local manufacturing unit and produce these signal boosters, because nowadays the central government is very very concerned about call drops.