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Call drops: Trai chairman to meet telco CEOs today

Second consultation paper in the offing to ascertain specific causes

Top honchos of telecom companies will meet the chairman and other senior officials of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday in the light of the recent efforts by both the sides to check the rising incidence of call drops. This will be the first meeting between the industry CEOs and the new regulator, R S Sharma, who assumed charge of the office last month.

The meeting also assumes significance because last week, Trai came out with a consultation paper asking stakeholders whether the operators should compensate consumers for system-generated call drops.

It has been found that currently, the chances of a call not getting through is more than 50% and this has raised concerns.

However, sources said that the meeting would set the agenda of a second consultation paper Trai is going to bring out in about two weeks’ time, which would examine the issue of call drops in more detail, ascertaining specific causes for call drops — what percentage is due to the lack of radio coverage and how much is due to bad handover from one tower to another, for instance.

The paper would also focus on the wider issue of the quality of service — call drops are just one instance. For example, sources said that call connectivity is also a problem, as only 46% of calls made get connected in one go.

Sources said that the second consultation paper on the subject of quality of service will have granular data on the subject, which would go into specifics as against generalities in the current paper.

The data, which would be analysed in the forthcoming paper, will be of two circles, Delhi and Mumbai, but gradually data dissemination would be of the entire country as Trai wants to create a ready reckoner or dashboard, which would map the network capacity of the operators through a GIS, wherein consumers would be able to know which operator’s infrastructure is overstretched, what are the dark spots etc.

Trai chairman Sharma confirmed that a second consultation paper will be brought out soon so that the regulator had an exact idea about the reasons for call drops, but declined to discuss its specifics.

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