State-owned telecom company BSNL will offer free national roaming facility to its subscribers from June 15, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today, even as he asked private players to address the call drop issue as “being done” by the public sector firm.
“BSNL will start offering free national roaming from June 15. It’s already on the recovery path,” Prasad said during a press conference on completion of one year of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
The announcement comes ahead of full mobile number portability (MNP), which will be effective from July this year. BSNL had a mobile subscriber base of 7.72 crore as of March-end.
“I have said repeatedly that I am the telecom minister of this country but I am also the minister for consumers’ interest, so if BSNL is taking initiatives on call drops, private operators should also understand that call drops need to be minimised, they must reinforce their mechanism,” Prasad said.
Prasad added that he has directed officials in the department to work on a disincentive architecture (for the operators).
“They (officials) are working on it and if needed, TRAI may also be consulted,” he added.
The Minister added that in his role, he is responsible for ensuring that consumer interest has been kept in mind.
Explaining the issue and possible architecture, Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg cited the example of a telecom operator which is offering free calls in lieu of call drops.
Prasad said BSNL has commissioned 15,000 new base tower stations in one year which has resulted in less call drops.
The Minister said to address the problem of call drops, now mobile towers need to be installed and people should not pay heed to this whole campaign on radiation.
“If anyone comes with a clear evidence of problem and danger from the radiation, I will look into it. This kind of campaign is not fair,” he said.