The telcos are in a Catch-22 situation as the Trai chairman has given them 15 days’ time by when another independent drive test would be done in Mumbai and Delhi to test whether their call drop rate is within the 2% quality of service benchmark level. The last such test done was in June-July of this year (see table).
Call drop is measured by seeing that if two parties connect on a call, it doesn’t get disconnected by system within a span of 90-120 seconds.
The operators are in a bind cause while they will soon be put to test, the sealing of towers rampantly and arbitrarily by the municipal authorities hasn’t stopped.
As such the test will be loaded against them as with every 40 sites being sealed, there’s an average 20% increase in call drops.
In fact, late last week the CEOs of the country’s top six mobile firms wrote to the department of telecommunications secretary and Trai chairman about how their efforts at checking call drops goes in vain as the municipalities seal their towers arbitrarily.
While they thanked the government and the regulator for their commitment to help them in this regard, the immediate trigger for them penning the joint letter was that despite such assurances from the top the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) two days prior to their writing had sealed 16 sites in Delhi. In the last month 70 sites were sealed and in the last year alone, about 1,700 sites were shut down all over the country.