Action plan must follow Trai’s call drop assessment

Action plan must follow Trai’s call drop assessment
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New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai must workout an “action programme” once it has the results of the ongoing call drop and mobile service quality assessment of various operators, industry body COAI has said.

Having a solution based “action programme” following the Quality of Service assessment will enable the industry to overcome systemic issues which need to be addressed from a policy and tactical standpoint, Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director General, Rajan Mathews told PTI.

The comments come amid Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai’s) assessment of the service quality being offered by mobile operators. The assessment this time is benchmarked to the new, more stringent call drop norms that came into effect from October 1, 2017.

The quarter ended December will mark the first instance of reporting under the new formula.

Trai has already asked the operators to submit their network-related data for checking service quality under the new parameters. As per the new rules, the telecom operators may face a maximum penalty of Rs 10 lakh for call drops which will now be measured at mobile tower level instead the telecom circle level.

“Once we understand, what the issues are (on service quality), can we put in place an action programme so that we don’t continue to beat ourselves…quarter-by-quarter (on the same issue),” Mathews said.

He said that the operators continue to face many “ground level realities” when it comes to getting approvals for infrastructure and network roll outs, and many of these issues are unlikely to get resolved within a quarter or two.

Moreover, it has said that “intervention” by local municipalities shutting down towers have compounded call drop problems at the local, circle level.

“So what we are saying is that get into solutions mode,” Mathews said.

For instance, a solution approach could involve assigning responsibilities to various authorities including local bodies to facilitate network roll-outs.

“We are saying work with the industry on fixing systemic issues that require help outside of what the industry can presently do. Trai should push such an action plan,” he said.

He recalled that the last round of discussions with the telecom department on the call drop issue had culminated into concrete solutions like Right of Way (RoW) policy and land being made available for installation of cell towers.

COAI has maintained that call drops are a result of operator churn and difficulty in getting approvals for installing infrastructure, and that operator-specific issues on service quality are not “emblematic” of the whole industry.

The surge in call drops has, once again, come under the telecom department’s radar and Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan had said that a meeting with operators will be held soon to convey concerns over call quality.

PTI