Audit finds 35,654 bad cell sites across the country
AN audit of network performance of telecom companies conducted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) late last month found at least 35,654 bad cell sites — mostly at strategic points in selected towns across the country.
The random DoT audit found that of the 35,654 bad cell sites, 2,904 were of very low volume.
Of the 35,654 bad cell sites, Vodafone shares 7,089 in 41 towns, spread across 23 telecom circles, Bharti Airtel 4,533 in 29 towns and spread across 17 telecom circles, Idea Cellular 5,712 in 23 towns, which are spread across 23 telecom circles, and Aircel 10,169, spread across 22 telecom circles.
There are about 5.5 lakh BTS towers totalling 18.8 lakh cell sites. On an average, one BTS tower may have up to five or six cell sites owned by different telecom companies.
Ironically, DoT had increased the prescribed benchmark for call drop rates from 2% to 3% while conducting the audit, to identify bad cell sites in some selected towns, which varied from operator to operator.
The bad cell sites were identified as those found to have over 3% of the prescribed benchmark for call drops for three of the seven days during the Bouncing Busy Hour.
Unlike DoT, Trai, which had conducted a drive test for call drops in Delhi and Mumbai in June-July, had set the prescribed benchmark for call drops at 2% and above for clearing the call drop test.