Concerned over the increasing number of complaints from subscribers over call drops, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has called a meeting with the CEOs of all telecom operators on Wednesday to discuss the situation. The ministry will also meet the regulator, Trai, on the same day to deliberate on the issue. “We will be meeting the operators on Wednesday and want to communicate to them the government’s concerns over the call drop situation. DoT will also be meeting Trai officials on the situation,” telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters. She added that there has been a rise in the number of complaints regarding call drops and the situation is deteriorating. Sundararajan, who will be chairing both the meetings, said the quality of service (QoS) regulations that came out last year will also be discussed. In August 2017, Trai came out with more stringent QoS regulations for telecom operators in which the regulator has not only done away with the past method of calculating call drops, but also exponentially hiked the penalty amount to Rs 10 lakh. The new regulations came into effect on October 1, 2017. The new method for calculating call drops is now on a percentile basis, as Trai wants to check poor performance of those base transreceiver stations (BTS) that have not been performing up to the mark for some days during the observation period and remain hidden due to the previous averaging formula for calculating the call drop rate.
Earlier, industry body COAI had requested to delay the new regulations for 6 months as the operators would have to revise their contracts and work out maintenance practices, but it was denied by the regulator.
Sources said that this issue will also be discussed at the meeting. Call drops have been a burning issue and the telecom ministry in 2016 has come under criticism for not being able to check the menace. Following repeated complaints from subscribers, DoT held a meeting with the industry in July 2016 and following detailed deliberations, came out with a strategy to handle the issue with 100 day and 1 year action plans. The efforts bore fruit as according to DoT data, call drops reported by subscribers came down from 64% in December 2016 to 57% by March 2017.