Assocham on Thursday came in support of the telecom operators on call drop issue and said that it is unfair to put the blame on the operators only since many of the critical factors causing the problem are not within the control of the telecom industry.
T V Ramachandran, Chairman of Assocham Telecom Council, said that fundamentally, once a cellular network has been set up and stabilised, call drops can only happen either if there is inadequate spectrum or there is not enough networks of towers to achieve satisfactory signal coverage of the service area. Regrettably, in India, we suffer from both these serious handicaps, he said.
He added that the situation is more worrisome in metros like Delhi and Mumbai.
Ramachandran said, due to unjustified and unfounded concerns in some quarters regarding EMF exposure, the industry is not being allowed to set up cell sites and towers at the right places. The difficulty is further compounded by municipalities and civic administrations which do not cooperate to give the necessary permissions for tower installations.
According to TRAI data, at least 523 sites in Delhi and 801 sites in Mumbai were shut down in the past six months due to alleged radiation scares or issues with municipalities. As many as 25 towers are shut down each week in Mumbai. Shutting down one tower would not only affect the 700 or more subscribers attached to the tower but also impact the performance of at least half a dozen towers adjoining the sealed tower.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has written to operators asking them to furnish a report by July 31 on the steps taken for improving on call drops.
Ramachandran said, “We request the government to carry through the Spectrum Reform processes and make available more Spectrum to operators as well as permit Spectrum sharing, Spectrum trading and a more liberal M & A.”
All these and the latest initiative for tower installation will surely give a big boost to Digital India and enable customers to have top class mobile services with minimum call drops .